Supporting new jobs and creating skills locally
Providing work placements for people with disabilities
Next Steps is Gateshead Council’s work placement programme for people with disabilities. The enterprise provides work placements in the fields of Retail, Training, Garden and Grounds maintenance, Catering, Information and Advice services and Recycling and Upgrading furniture. Next Steps allows people with disabilities to develop their skills and work-based competencies as a stepping stone onto paid employment. Next Steps has been instrumental in configuring work placements for pupils at local specialist schools and has won three national awards since 2016. In 2018, Harvest and Help (Next Steps’ garden and grounds maintenance program) won the ‘Making a difference’ award at the National Learning Disability Awards.
In 2012 Gateshead Council developed Voiceworks, a work experience project for young people aged 14-19 with special educational needs and disabilities. The Project has worked in partnership with young people, education providers, parents/carers and employers with the aim of increasing young people’s understanding of the world of work through hands-on supported/mentored or independent work experience placements. The placements are flexible and designed to meet the needs of young people and employers.Voiceworks has successfully delivered over 175 bespoke work experience placements to Gateshead young people in over 20 different industrial, community and volunteering sectors. 98% of young people who have undertaken a placement through Voiceworks have progressed onto further education and/or training. 68% of those now progress onto a Supported Internship, Traineeship or Apprenticeship. 53% of young people have successfully completed a Supported Internship and gained paid employment.