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Pathways: work experience

Since Hope Valley Pathways began in 2012, work experience has been central to how we develop the experiences and skills of our young people. Our students are encouraged to engage in conversations about the work they have participated in, are interested in trying, and how any alternative interests could be integrated in a workplace. We then encourage students to experience placements (beginning with visits and taster days) which often become long term. We have observed many of our students’ skills base and confidence grow due to having access to workplace opportunities.

Each student has set targets to achieve in their work placements and are encouraged to develop awareness of Health and Safety at Work, Safe Moving and Handling practice, and communication and teamwork skills. We also support students to identify person-centred targets in order to become rounded employees and an asset to employers. Hope Valley Pathways has been well supported by local businesses to provide a varied range of work opportunities. We strive to make work experiences positive and mutually beneficial. We welcome any other business who can support the development of our work experience programme.

"We have collaborated with the college to provide local work experience within the Hope Valley for the students. Watching the growth and development in confidence and skill set over the course of a few weeks has been outstanding. Within YHA no two days are the same- the students have been flexible and understanding to the needs of the hostel whilst completing maintenance and housekeeping in a busy education centre."

– Alison Boyle, Deputy Manager at YHA Castleton

Hope Valley Pathways’ Supported Internship Programme

The Hope Valley Pathways’ supported internship is a structured study programme based primarily with an employer. The programme aims for young adults aged 16-18 with an Education, Health and Care plan to achieve sustainable paid employment. Supported internships are unpaid, but wherever possible, they support the intern to move into paid employment at the end of the programme. The programme consists of set ‘phases’ that are tailored to equip the intern with the skills they need for work. The programme aims to bridge the knowledge gained in the classroom by applying context through practical application within the workplace. From the initial ‘Phase 1’, that introduces the intern to the work place through work experience opportunities, to ‘Phase 5’ which consists of a successful transition from college and the supporting Job Coach, to the employer and relevant support systems where required.

Working with a Job Coach

Interns can move through each phase of the supported internship programme at a pace that suits their needs, whilst supporting the expectations of the employer also. The programme provides an opportunity for the interns to continue with their core subjects and gain vocational qualifications. In addition to the key functional literacy and numeracy skills, the curriculum aims to support the intern to gain an understanding of what is expected of them within the workplace whilst building a portfolio of achievements that compliments their studies.

We are looking forward to developing the Hope Valley Pathways’ Supported Internships further for those who aspire to gain paid employment. We are always happy to discuss our programme further with anyone who may be considering such a pathway in the future. We would welcome communication with local businesses that are wanting to expand their workplace talents or support their aims to become Disability Confident through a partnership with Hope Valley Pathways.