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Project lead

The project leads for the Getting a Life project in Manchester were Mark Burton, with Kevin Bell and Laura Upton.  For more information about transition for young people with learning disabilities in Oldham after March 2011 please contact [email protected], Manchester Learning Disability Partnership
Tel: 0161 2260843.

Youth Supported Employment Project

Paid after-school or weekend jobs for young people with learning disabilities in Manchester

ysep logoYSEP supports teenagers with a learning disability, aged 16-19, to enable them to get a paid job after school or at the weekend. The project is managed by a YSEP Co-ordinator who is supported by same age peers or mentors to provide on the job support to young people on the project.

We know that teenagers with learning disabilities don’t always get the same opportunities or life experiences that other teenagers have, for instance….

YSEP looks for jobs in areas where teenagers work or want to work. Having a job at this age is a critical part of the career and life development process; one which we believe everyone should have an opportunity to experience.

YSEP raises the aspirations for work among young people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and employers. Through the project young people will build personal and skill development whilst developing friendships and having fun. Employers get a committed and reliable member of the company which reflects the positive diversity of their community and the customers that they serve.

YSEP is initially a pilot project and has been based on the model developed in Canada by Julie Allan which is now viewed internationally as a model of good practice. The project funded by Manchester City Council and delivered by Pure Innovations aims to support eight teenagers from the Getting A Life cohort into part-time work in year one. However, Pure will be working closely with parents, schools, and employers to grow expectations and are confident that the benefits of the project will provide a clear example for other families to starting thinking and working towards employment earlier, hence, opening up the project to a wider range of young people with learning disabilities.

You can assist the project by promoting it within your community, helping to identify opportunities for part-time work with employers and by encouraging young people to get involved as peer mentors.

If you would like more information about YSEP please contact:
Julie Allen (Kilsby and Allen)
Tel: 02920 333707 or email [email protected]

Rachel Roberts Newton (Pure Innovations)
Mobile: 07595089785 or email [email protected]

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Pure Innovations Ltd

Established in 1986, Pure Innovations provides support and guidance for people with learning disabilities in successfully finding paid employment.

Pure Innovations is an organisation that supports people into employment and they have been a key member of the Getting a Life project in Manchester.

Their belief that everyone has the right to contribute and to live a full and active life in society is also at the heart of ‘Getting A Life’.

Pure Innovations offer all their service users the support of an Employment Officer to help create a person-centred ‘Work Development Plan’. The employment officer also works with employers to customize a job to meet the skills of an individual.

Once suitable employment has been found Pure Innovations continues to provide support and ongoing training. They ensure that both the employees and employers are happy and well supported.

Pure Innovations has had many success stories of their clients finding paid employment and progressing onto requiring no, or very little support. One young Person Pure Innovations has supported to find a job recently is Lucy who shares her story in the feature opposite.
www.pureinnovations.co.ukenternal web page opens in new window

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Lucy's Story

Lucy has been working for Manchester City Council’s, Manchester Learning Disability Partnership (MLDP) since September 2009. Lucy’s job title is Admin Assistant and she is part of the administration team at Chapman Place in Gorton.

This team supports a wide range of professionals including Care Managers & Nurses, Occupational & Physio Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and Psychologists.

Lucy went to school at Newhall Green High School and then went on to study further education with The Manchester College at their Northenden campus.

After leaving college Lucy took up some voluntary work with Age Concern and worked at a Day Centre in South Manchester. Lucy was also interested in working in an office and was seeking an opportunity to try this out.

At the same time MLDP had asked Pure Innovations to look into the possibility of developing opportunities for people with learning disabilities to take up Paid employment posts within the administration teams.

Eileen Downey the Administration Manager at Chapman place worked really hard with Pure Innovations to ensure that together they could support the right candidate into a post at Chapman Place. Lucy’s carer heard about this job opportunity and asked Lucy if she would be interested. Although Lucy was enjoying her voluntary work the chance to get a paid job seemed too good to pass up.

Lucy had been referred to Pure Innovations Supported Employment service by her Care Manager and Sarah Cox an Employment Officer from Pure then started work on a work development plan with Lucy. And carried out a job analysis to determine what support Lucy would need.

Lucy then did a couple of days work experience at Chapman Place to see if she would be interested in applying for the job.

Lucy was really keen, so Sarah helped Lucy apply for a discretionary fund with The Job-Centre+ which gave Lucy some money to purchase interview clothes.

Lucy then completed a two week working interview (unpaid) which allowed Lucy and the team at Chapman Place, a good chance to determine whether the job was right for Lucy.

During this time Sarah supported Lucy every day as a job coach and helped put practices into place which would help Lucy with her duties.

The working interview was very successful and Lucy was offered a 17.5 hour per week paid post which she happily accepted.

Lucy’s duties include meeting & greeting visitors, dealing with the post, faxes, photocopying, typing, filing, answering the phone, checking emails, checking the stationary cupboard is stocked along with the various other duties a busy office produces.

Lucy’s work colleague Sandra Gallager (Admin Coordinator) is full of praise for Lucy and says:

“Lucy has worked so hard in the 5 months she has been here. She has gone from strength to strength and uses her initiative really well”.

In fact Lucy has done so well that she has been asked to show another new employee how to do the job. Lucy has also won a Q award recently which is an annual award which recognises quality and excellence within MLDP.

Finally, we asked Lucy how she had benefited from having a paid job and what she likes to spend her wages on. Lucy said that she goes running everyday so a pair of new trainers was first on the list. She has also bought some nice new clothes and has enjoyed going out with her friends to the cinema and bowling. Lucy is also looking forward to visiting her big brother in London soon and says the money has helped her become more independent.

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Young Peoples Parliament

The Young People’s Parliament is open to all young people, with a learning disability across Manchester, aged 16-24.

The Parliament aims to give a voice to young people with learning disabilities, which will be heard and listened to by local and national government, providers of services for young people and other agencies who have an interest in the views and needs of young people.

Manchester People First have appointed Barry Hills to set up and run the Parliament.

Barry is currently meeting with various schools, colleges and youth organisations to promote the parliament and invite young people to get involved.

Contact Barry Hills for further details:

Tel: 0161 998 0517
Email: [email protected]

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Helaina´s work experience

Helaina Stone has just turned 16 and is thinking about what she wants to do after she leaves school. She has an interest in working with babies and young children and her work experience placements, organised by her mum Cath, have given her a taste of what it would be like to have a job in the future.

Helaina’s first taste of work was at New Moston library, where she helped with activities for mums and young children, stamped and filed books, used the computer, and did photocopying and laminating. Helaina was already a frequent visitor at the library, and staff were happy to offer her the opportunity to come in for four days, spread over two weeks.

Helaina has also completed five days of work experience at Moston Sure Start Children’s Centre, where she got involved in a wide variety of activities, from greeting and escorting parents attending the centre, to choosing and setting up activities for children, and carrying out office tasks.

The staff at the Sure Start Centre put together a report about Helaina’s work experience, with photos and descriptions of what she had achieved:
We really enjoyed having Helaina at the Centre. We found out very quickly that she was capable of a great deal and that she needed to be challenged on future days of the placement”.

Through Getting a Life, Helaina has started having person-centred reviews at school, which have helped the family to think about what’s working and not working, and what is possible for the future. Helaina’s mum Cath says:
“Being involved with Getting a Life has given me such a lot of valuable information, and put me in touch with all the people I need to know and talk to about Helaina and her future. So that I have the skills and tools to take me to the next stage in sorting a life out for Helaina, after Christmas I am organising more work experience for her, including at her local dance school.”

Helaina has Costello’s syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome that has only been diagnosed in around 300 people worldwide. You can find out more about the International Costello Syndrome Support group at www.costellokids.comenternal web page opens in new window

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James’ Story

James has just turned 19 and is in his final year in the sixth form at Piper Hill SEN School, Wythenshawe. James lives in the area with his mum, and has now secured a part time job at a new Youth Hub there.

James Getting A Life storyIn March 2010, a local housing association called Willow Park opened a new Youth Hub in Wythenshaw. They wanted young people to become actively involved in the management and running of the hub.

Danny, the YSEP project co-ordinator, met with Willow Park’s Youth Involvement Manager to discuss a possible role for James, who has a learning disability and cerebral palsy, with minimal use of his left arm. After meeting James, Willow Park agreed to build and customise a role around James’ strengths: his outgoing personality and his sociability.

James’ role is to support the youth workers at the Junior Open Access Clubs at the Hub on Tuesday and Friday evenings between 6.15pm and 8.30pm. His duties will include:

This role gives James a combination of structured, specific tasks and the freedom to express himself when interacting and encouraging younger club members.

Emma, a peer supporter, who is also 19 and lives in Wythenshawe will support James in his job. Emma has already supported another young man on the YSEP Project and by supporting James, should have enough experience and evidence to gain a NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care.

The role has created benefits for all involved. Willow Park gains two young people from the community to help run the Hub, Emma gains experience towards a qualification and a career in support work, and James now has his first taste of paid part-time work in his community and has a chance to demonstrate what he has to offer.

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Dragons in ManchesterYoung People in Manchester pitch skills to local “Dragons”

On 25th March, young people taking part in the Getting a Life programme in Manchester will be pitching their skills and interests to local employers in a “dragon’s den” style event, to secure work experience, jobs, and to gain interview practice.

Young people will be supported to give a presentation, using one page profiles, pictures and video to show the “dragons” why they would make great employees.

The event has been organised by a team of people from different agencies in Manchester involved in supporting young people with learning disabilities into employment, including the Manchester Learning Disability Partnership, JobCentre Plus, and Tricia Nicoll, an independent consultant who is running young people’s and families’ leadership programmes in Getting a Life sites.

More information about the event is available as a downloadable report, How we planned our Dragon’s Den eventPDF opens in new window.

For more information please contact Laura Upton, Getting a Life project manager for Manchester.

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