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North Tyneside

Project leads

The project leads for the Getting a Life project in North Tyneside were Helen Witton [email protected] and Ian Walton [email protected]

Volunteers Sought for Peer Mentoring in North Tyneside

On 4th January 2010, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and the Newcastle Journal featured a story about mentoring opportunities for young people to work alongside learning disabled peers, to support them in thinking about their aspirations and work towards achieving fulfilling lives.

Volunteers aged between 16 and 27 and living in North Tyneside are being urged to get in touch if they are interested in working as a peer mentor to a young person with a severe learning disability. They will commit time to working with young people as well as offering support and friendship between sessions.

Helen Witton, from North Tyneside Council's Integrated Youth Service, is leading the project. She said: "Volunteering is a chance for young people to put something back into the community. The Young Leaders will be a vital support resource for these young people, and this will be an extremely fulfilling opportunity. It is also a great experience to have, when applying for jobs or a place at university."

Volunteers would also be fully trained and receive ongoing support. For more information contact Helen Witton on 0191 290 0415 or emailing [email protected]

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Transition Employment Support Officer

North Tyneside employs a Transition Employment Support Officer to support young people with learning disabilities at Beacon Hill and Woodlawn schools to think about future jobs and careers. This role is funded until December 2011, through the National Transition Support Programme (TSP) grant. The North Tyneside multi-agency joint Getting a Life and TSP project team identified the need for the role through a gap analysis exercise.

Since starting in the role in September 2010, Kerry Davidson has been working intensively with staff, young people from year 9 upwards and parents at Beacon Hill school, getting to know the young people and helping them to plan and develop skills for the jobs they would like when they leave school.

Kerry has been attending person centred reviews at Beacon Hill, making sure that employment is discussed. She says, “I am very pleased with the response from the parents – work experience and employment has been a topic of discussion at the majority of reviews and they are welcoming support for the young people”.

Another aspect of the Transition Employment Support Officer role is to develop work experience opportunities for young people. Kerry has been working with Beacon Hill’s work experience co-ordinator to achieve targets have been agreed for each year group, in particular focusing on those young people in year 14 who have not yet had any work experience, and who will be leaving school in summer 2011.

Kerry has developed work experience portfolios that young people can use to demonstrate their skills and interests. Using text and photos, the portfolios will show what the young person can do, both in school, in a work environment and at home. Teachers are also building some of the planning and discovery work into the curriculum.

In January 2011, Kerry has started to work with a second school, Woodlawn, to develop work experience provision for sixth form students.

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