TES (002)

Springboard has reached the shortlist

17 May 2021

What is Springboard?

The Springboard Project is a new initiative by Springfield School, Crewe which started in September 2019. It has been funded by Cheshire East Local Authority and is being run alongside Safe Opportunities. The DWP Access to Work fund is being used to supply Job Coaches from Grow and Achieve for the interns.

The Springboard Project aims to support young adults (16-19 year olds) with learning difficulties into the world of work. Our supported internship programme combines work experience in local businesses with taught sessions and independent learning activities at The Hub, our base.

Although this is a branch of Springfield School, places are not just for Springfield students, places are available for students from other schools or providers within Cheshire East who have an EHCP

What is expected from an Intern? 

An intern is expected to be on work placement for 3 or 4 days a week, the job is chosen to suit the skills and interests of the young person. The Interns attend 1 or 2 days at The Hub where they focus on their functional skills and areas of personal development they may need to be work ready. 

Each Intern has a work-based mentor and Supported Employment Officer from Safe Opportunities who risk assess the placement, make regular visits to see the Intern and are the link between work and The Hub. They also have a functional skills tutor, who will work in a small group or one-to-one when Interns are not on placement. 

Impact on Businesses  

As a school our curriculum has changed and evolved to ensure we have a focus on the workplace from an early age. We understand that due the nature of our pupil’s disabilities they can take longer to acquire the skills that are needed for the world of work. After extensive research and evidence, we know that by giving the pupils the additional time they need, we successfully see pupils going into the world of work from school from the age of 16 with this change in curriculum. This is a huge dramatic shift and both pupils and parents have high expectations of what the future holds.  

The biggest shift has been the education and support in the workplace for employers. We have ensured employers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to support our young people into the workplace. The feedback we receive from employers is overwhelming always focusing on the reciprocal benefits it brings about in their organisations.  

Impact on our Interns  

In September 2019 the programme started with 10 Interns, by the end of the academic year 7 had gained paid employment. The other 3 Interns unfortunately were working within the Care and Hospitality industries which were unable to accommodate them during the pandemic but have returned to the workplace recently. This is the most significant success we have seen for pupils with cognition and learning difficulties moving into the field of paid employment. If we can achieve this during lockdown, the future ahead is so exciting for our young people.