Improving employment opportunities for SEND learners

Young person with a disability smiling as the camera as two chefs look on

We are proud to announce that National Star has been chosen to join the Education and Training Foundation’s (ETF’s) Centres for Excellence in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (CfESEND) programme by becoming one of eight new employer spokes across the country.

As a Further Education (FE) provider with a particularly strong relationship with a wide range of employers, including those with a track record of employing learners with SEND, we plan to bring together FE providers with employers from different industry sectors to show how businesses can benefit from diversifying their workforce.

We will be joined by the seven other FE providers also named as spokes:

• LTE Group with an offer led by the NHS and start-up businesses
• Oldham College with an offer led by by a range of trend-setting SMEs
• Luminate Group with an offer led by museums and art galleries
• Activate Learning with an offer led by National Grid and their learning companies
• Hampshire County Council with an offer led by construction (highways) and employment hubs
• London South East Colleges with an offer led by theatres and sports
• Dynamic Training with an offer led by health and social care with a specific focus on supported apprenticeships.

At National Star we will be encouraging Herefordshire employers to attend a workshop to explore how easy it is to employ people with disabilities as well as delivering two webinars on self-employment as a career choice for people with disabilities.  Discover more about the workshop on 28 October. 

Teresa Carroll, National Head of Inclusion at ETF explained: “As the country recovers from the effects of both Brexit and the Covid pandemic, learners with SEND are a huge untapped resource to employers and businesses. Eighty one per cent of non-disabled people are employed whilst only 52% of people with disabilities are employed, hiring people with SEND is not just the right thing to do, but makes good business sense too.”

Jayne Hashmat, Head of Learning and Support (Work Outcomes) at National Star said: “We are so pleased to have been chosen as one of the eight spokes which will deliver this programme across the country. We have worked closely with local businesses for a number of years helping them to be in a position to offer extended work placements and employment to people with disabilities. It will be good to work with our business contacts to share this knowledge and to encourage others to follow their lead.”

The CfESEND programme provides expert support for leaders, managers and practitioners who wish to put learners with SEND at the centre of their organisation as part of a Department for Education (DfE) funded national programme. The Centres are hosted by Weston College, Derby College and City College Norwich. The programme began in 2019.

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