Open Doors magazine

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Open Doors

POTENTIAL Neurodiversity in the workplace SUPPORT YOUR STAFF

Help with hearing loss

Discover Accessible Basketball In Cornwall



Welcome to the first edition of Open Doors magazine. This magazine aims to help employers in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to support young people with additional needs, such as Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), and/or autism spectrum diagnoses.

Within this group, there is a huge wealth of talent, skill and enthusiasm. Employers who make time to offer support through work placements, Supported Internships and jobs not only make a huge difference in offering much-needed support to help young people get into the world of work - they also stand to find incredible new recruits for their organisations.

To help demonstrate this and provide valuable work experience and skills for young people with SEND / ASD this magazine has been produced with help from some very talented students in the region. It is a project which has been funded by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Careers Hub and, as we hope you will discover, you can find valuable tips, inspiring case studies and very useful resources for your business within these pages.

Thank you for taking the time to read this magazine. If you have any questions you can get in touch with the editorial team at

Produced by Access Cornwall CIC. With thanks to Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Careers Hub who have funded this project.



This magazine has been inspired and co-created by a team of students with an array of talents and who also have experience of Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities. Our aim is to offer employers information and help directly from those young people who are seeking to find work opportunities in Cornwall.

The project has been funded by Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Careers Hub.

Thank you for supporting this magazine. You can find out more about the team and the project at

Design & illustrations

Hope, Liskeard School

Isaac, Mounts Bay Academy

Max, Nancealverne School




Jessy, OakTree Academy

Aflie, Nancealverne School

Alfie, Liskeard School,

Lucas, Nancealverne School

Keeliegh from Liskeard school


Keeleigh, Liskeard School

Isobel, Liskeard School


Tyler, Liskeard School

Jessy, Oaktree Academy

Alfie, Nancealverne School

Lucas, Nancealverne School

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 03
CONTENTS Welcome 02 About The Team Who Made This Magazine 03 News And Events About SEND Work Opportunities 06 Supporting Young People Who Are Neurodivergent In The Workplace. 08 Walkies For Work ................................. 10 Everything You Need To Know About Therapy Dogs ...... 12 Cornwall Saracens Wheelchair Basketball Team ......... 14 Volunteering For Cornwall Hospital Radio ............... 16 Would You Like To Work In A School? .................. 17 How To Support Colleagues With Hearing Loss 18 10 Ways To Support Work Experience Students With SEND 20 Meet Matt, Volunteer Manager At Access Cornwall 22 Meet Cornwall’s Inclusive Workplace Pioneers… 24 Everything You Need To Know About Supported Internships .............................. 26 Next Steps… ..................................... 27 04 OPEN DOORS MAGAZINE
MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 05

Diversity to Thrive is a network of Cornwall-based employers who come together to help reduce barriers to work for those with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities and those who are neurodivergent. The next event is at 31st May at FibreHub, in Pool..

If you would like to find out more or get involved email or click on this link to sign up to the Diversity to Thrive newsletter.

Thanks to Perran Tremewan of Cornwall Rural Community Charity for photographs of the Newquay Orchard Community to Thrive event.



Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Careers Hub are inviting employers to visit their event in Wadebridge. The morning of the event from 10am to 1pm will provide opportunities for employers to meet SEND students and also colleges and post 16+ education providers to learn more about the diverse and untapped talent that young people in this group have to offer. Please do come along.

This is a great opportunity for those interested in providing work experience or Supported Internships can not only meet learners but also the organisations that offer Job Coaches and Education Support Assistants and help to get these opportunities up and running in your organisation.


There is good news for community and charitable organisations in West Cornwall who would like to be more inclusive. Access Cornwall are now able to provide free Accessibility Reviews and Audits thanks to funding from the Cornwall Council Community Levelling Up Programme. This is part of the Good Growth Programme, delivering the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The reviews will be carried out by trained Accessibility Ambassadors and volunteers who have a variety of lived experience of different disabilities, health conditions and neurodivergence. If you would like to know more, contact the team at

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 07


Individuals who are neurodivergent have unique qualities and strengths that will allow them to flourish if they get the right support in the work environment. Poppy Marfleet shares helpful information for employers.

Supporting young people who are neurodivergent in the workplace can be challenging as well as rewarding, but it is essential to ensure that they feel comfortable, valued, and included.

Many neurodivergent employees struggle in the traditional workplace environment. This can be due to external stimuli such as bright buzzing lights or other factors such as the way they are given information.



language right

Neurodiversity (ND) is a term that refers to the different ways a person’s brain processes information. Some people are neurodivergent, which means that their brains develop or work differently and this term is frequently used to refer to Autistic Spectrum diagnoses, including Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia, to name just a few. There are many more!

In the past these diagnoses were labelled ‘conditions’ but more up-to-date thinking is to refer to these simply as differences.

This is because ND individuals have unique qualities and strengths that can often allow them to flourish and bring huge talent into the workplace 9and the world in general) if they are in the right environment and given the right adaptations.

For example, lots of ND employees notice more minor details and work to achieve high standards or perfection; neurodivergence can also be associated with high levels of creativity and many young ND individuals are imaginative and ‘think outside the box’ to find solutions that most neurotypical brains would look past.

Understanding challenges

Even though ND people have lots of strengths, many do face challenges, particularly in the workplace. For example, some autistic people may struggle with eye contact, sensory overload, making small talk in interviews, shyness, and anxiety about what to expect or where they are going. Dyslexic people may struggle with long verbal instructions or processing lots of written information at once. Individuals with ADHD may find it difficult to remember information given over the phone or to remain focused during long interviews/


meetings. Around 90% of ND individuals also experience Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPD), which means that they may be either oversensitive or undersensitive to sensory experiences such as sounds, lights, smells or touch. For example, a lanyard rubbing against the skin can be painful for some individuals, and the general noise and lighting in an open-plan office can be overwhelming for individuals who simply cannot filter out background sounds or strong lights.

It is important to remember that every neurodivergent individual has unique characteristics and a sense of self. Recognising this and tailoring the workplace to meet their needs is crucial.

Here are some tips for how to help:

1. Provide ear defenders/headphones or a quiet space where someone can go for a short time to recover from sensory overwhelm.

2. Give clear instructions and communication about where to go and what is happening.

3. Ensure information is given in various formats (written or verbal, for example) or ask the employee in question what they prefer.

4. Provide a workplace buddy for support in case they have questions.

5. Allow them to work at home when possible.

6. Offer the option to communicate via email or phone, whichever works best for them.

7. Offer flexible hours so they can work when feeling most productive or miss rush hour.

8. Allow relaxed clothing for people with sensory issues.

9. Share the agenda of meetings in advance where possible.

10. Managers should have training in understanding and supporting ND people.

11. Make everyone feel included, not just ND people.

12. Try to plan the day so you are avoiding too many unexpected requests, Establish as much routine as is possible given the workplace.

13. Encourage use of free apps that are made to help ND people. Examples include Natural Reader to read out documents and emails and Goblin Tools which is software that breaks down tasks, estimates how long they will take and helps people to interpret the tone of emails they have written or received. Pomodoro Timer helps to manage time and encourages regular breaks to increase productivity.

Overall, these may be helpful, but instead of deciding what you can do for an ND employee, the best and most efficient thing you can do would be to ask what would personally work for them.

By taking the time to listen and understand their needs, and to do this regularly, you can create a more inclusive and supportive workplace for everyone.

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 09


Jessy is a student at Oak Tree School in Truro. Here she tells us about her dream work experience opportunity, looking after dogs at a local doggy daycare centre…

I have loved dogs for as long as I’ve been on this earth. Dogs are good for people who have special educational needs, like myself, as they help with anxieties. They are good for cuddles and being a companion.

I have got dogs myself, an English Bull dog called Lenny. A Jack Russel Teddy Rat, called Moonie. A Jack Russel Cross Corgi - Cross Chihuahua called Belle. Then finally recently we also got a new addition to the pack, a New Dachshund puppy called Rolo.

My school offers work experience. They will cater to what each student wants to work with. In my case, I wanted to work with dogs (of course!) so they arranged work experience on a Wednesday morning for me, at a Doggy Day Care, to help me understand what it takes to look after a lot of dogs.

I really love that I get to spend times with all different types of dogs, different breeds, ages and needs. There are so many different characters and they are always happy to see you.

When I arrive, my first job is to settle the dogs. I go into the first room with all the dogs, where you are welcomed with about 30-40 barks! At 10am, we let all the dogs out to the field, to run around and play – for a couple of hours. We walk around and play with them and make sure they are not fighting and that any new dogs have settled in. Some like to sit on your feet! One likes to be picked up and she jumps up and I catch her.

I really love that I get to spend times with all different types of dogs

Then we come in. They can be naughty when it is time to get them back but we give them treats and toys. Then we come inside and sit on the sofas and continue to play.

It’s important to get to know the dogs. Some are very nervous and don’t want to be touched, some like to be carried if other dogs come up to them.

The employers have helped me to learn all of this They chat to me and tell me all about the individual dogs and how to interact with them. They have made me feel welcome from the first day when they met me and introduced me to the other workers. They also understand that sometimes if I feel overwhelmed I might just need a bit of time out and quiet space.


I cannot see out of one eye as I have a condition called SeptoOptic Dysplasia (SOD).

Here are some tips I have for employers working with someone like myself who is vision-impaired:

• In a workplace, employers could demonstrate how to use assorted equipment – as instruction on paper might be difficult to read.

• Make other staff aware of my visual impairment, and point out such things as, to stand on the correct side of me, as I can only see from one side.

• Explaining things calmly and at the right pace to make sure the person understands the task and has all the information they need.

• Make sure walk-throughs and areas are clear of any trip hazards.

• Making sure signs are clear, in bold writing, for me to see.

• Giving a full tour of the workplace, making sure it is clear where everything is.

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 11


While assistance dogs are trained to assist specific patients with their day-to-day needs, therapy dogs are trained to interact with all kinds of people, not just their handlers and will often belong to a volunteer who visits establishments to provide comfort.

Here Keeleigh from Liskeard School shares more information about how these dogs can help all kinds of people including those who live with disabilities and learning differences.

A therapy dog is a dog that is trained to provide affection, comfort and support to people, often in settings such as hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, libraries, hospices,

According to the website Anything Pawsible, important therapy and assistance Dog personality traits and behaviours include:

• Not being timid, aggressive, reactive or fearful

• Not being extremely submissive or strong-willed

• Being really well-balanced, easy-going and calm

• Enjoying interaction with humans

• Being calm and relaxed around other animals (for example, dogs, birds, cats and other small animals)

It can take a lot of time and money to train assistance dogs. For example, it can cost an average of £22,000 to fully train a family and their Autism Assistance Dog.

According to Assistance Dogs UK, over 7000 people rely on a highly trained assistance dog, enjoying the additional emotional benefits and greater independence that such dogs bring.


Some of the best breeds for therapy and assistance dog work include breeds that might surprise you. For example, Bloodhounds can be trained to provide comfort, love, and affection to people in retirement homes, hospitals, nursing homes, disaster areas, and hospices. They also make great companions for people who are autistic and also those who suffer from anxiety disorders. These dogs also make excellent service dogs.

Here is a list of some other dog breeds that can make great therapy and assistance dogs.



Belgian Malinois

Bernese Mountain Dog Golden Retriever Labradors Smoyeds Rough Collies

If you would like to learn more you can visit and Therapy Dogs Nationwide

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 13


Cornwall Saracens Wheelchair Basketball Team formally Cornwall Cougars are a Wheelchair Basketball team based at Truro College. The team are members of British Wheelchair Basketball. We talked to the coach and some of the young team members to discover how this team is really supporting their employability skills.

The team have open practice every Thursday evening from 7pm to 9pm, the team welcomes everyone with accessibility needs. You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to come along and join in the fun.

“Often, when a new young person starts we find that their confidence is very low and that they will stand in the corner not talking to anyone,” says Saracens coach Aaron Nesbitt “After a few sessions they will start to get involved more and start to talk to the other players. You can see the smile on their faces every time they come to training and join in with the team. You see their confidence grow session by session to a place where they will join in with the conversations the other players are having and some of the jokes.


“It’s helpful for life and employment because the team members gain the confidence to talk to the other people and ask questions about what they need to do. They also learn to work as a team and support others. There have been studies that show regular exercise helps with mental health, and the regular activity also builds stamina to allow them to work the hours needed for a job.

“Above all this is a sport that teaches young people good communication skills. This is all done within a safe environment where they feel comfortable so if they do go out and get a job, they feel better prepared to talk to others.”

Ensuring that the team members feel safe is a key element of the sessions, but Aaron points out, while safeguarding is top priority, it also helps to allow students to try something new. “Obviously you will need to consider the safeguarding of young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities. However, I would say to any parents reading this, give them a chance. To see the student grow from when they start and the smile on

their faces when they are taking part and talking to the other team members is such a great experience and a reward in itself. These students are able to take part and really thrive, we just need to give them a chance.”

The team are members of the Inspire league within BWB [British Wheelchair Basketball] which is for recreational players to have the ability to join in and have some competitive games.

The aim of the team is to get everyone involved and have fun. Club wheelchairs are provided for people to join in, and it is a great way to improve fitnesst and meet new people.

“Growing up I attended a mainstream school, however, due to my accessiblity needs I couldn’t join in with any of the sports,” says Joe* one of the players. “This team has allowed me to do this and have some fun doing so”.

“I really enjoy it,” adds Ollie, who has been playing in a team for several years now. “It’s fun and I love being part of a team.”

If you would like to learn more or support the Team follow them on Facebook at @CornwallSaracens Wheelchair Basketball Team or email: The first two weeks are free for everyone and then only £2 a week. MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 15


If you would like to find out more about volunteering at Cornwall Hospital Broadcasting Network you can find out more at their website

Lucas from Nancealverne School is interested in getting work experience in hospital. A good way to do this is to volunteer. Here Adam Carpenter from Community Hospital Broadcasting Network (CHBN) answers some of Lucas’ questions.

Lucas: What kinds of volunteering opportunities are available at the CHBN?

Adam: There are lots of different jobs you can do. We are always looking for presenters, but you can also support a presenter during their programme. This might involve finding requested songs in the music library,or greeting visitors when they arrive at the studio for interview. This job might also mean putting things on the CHBN website or social media.

We are also looking for people to interview members of the local community with good stories to share.

Another important volunteer job is visiting patients on the wards at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, West Cornwall and St Michael’s Hospitals. Some of our volunteers visit patients to find out what songs they would like us to play for them and if they want to mention friends or family on the radio. It can be really comforting for some patients to talk to volunteers. A friendly face asking for song requests can make a real difference to their stay.

Lucas: What skills do you need to do some of these roles? Is it helpful if you are good at talking to people, for example?

Adam: It can be helpful if you are confident talking to people, if you are going to visit patients, for example. If you are helping a presenter and talking on the radio, it is helpful if you can speak clearly and confidently. Another skill is having a love of music and helping to find some songs that will make people feel better while they are in hospital.

Lucas: Do you need any special training to do volunteer roles.

Adam: We train all our volunteers with the skills they need. If they are helping in the studio we will train them in how to use the equipment, and also we will give training for those who are going onto the wards about what to say and how to show people how to listen to us on the radio.



Alfie at Nancealverne School spoke to fellow student Larissa who is doing work experience as a Teaching Assistant at the school to find more about work opportunities in the classroom.

Alfie: How old are the children that you are looking after?

Larissa: I am working in the Reception class so the children are all four or five years old.

Alfie: What kind of jobs do you do when you are doing work experience as a Teaching Assistant?

Larissa: I help to get the snacks ready and give them out. I also go out with the younger children at playtime and check that everyone is OK in the playground. I also get to do circle time in the morning, where everyone starts the day and I love doing that.

My work is mainly supporting students. I help them get to the lunch room and make sure they are OK at lunch. I also go out for swimming lessons with the children and help out on those trips.

I really love doing this work experience,I get to do lots of different things and it is good to know I can be helpful and make sure that the younger students are OK.

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 17


According to the British Academy of Augiology, one in 6 adults in the UK have hearing loss. Hope from Liskeard school shares some of her own advice for how we can support colleagues who have hearing loss.

It can be very isolating for people who can’t hear well. Here are some ways that people can help those with hearing loss.

Teach all staff that they shouldn’t speak too quietly or try to talk to the person if they are too far away.

Even if someone is not taught lip reading, many people with hearing loss use lip reading and looking at someone’s expression to help them understand what is being said. Make sure that when you talk to someone with hearing loss you are not standing in shadows or with your back to a window or a light, and that your face can easily be seen.


Some people like myself use a special transmitter, I use one called Roger. The person talking has the transmitter close to them or around their neck. Please look after Roger! Someone recently was using mine and spilled food on it.

Don’t speak really loud or too slowly as this can change the way your lips move when you say words. This can be confusing. Do speak a bit louder but try to keep your lips moving as normally as you can.

Keep making sure that the person can understand you. There might be background noise or you might turn away and speak where you cannot be seen. It can be quite hard to keep telling people if you can’t hear.

It’s often best to ask the person with hearing loss what things are helpful

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 19
6 4 7 5


Alfie, Lucas and Matt at Nancealverne school, Poppy Marfleet, Alfie, Hope, Keeleigh and Tyler at Liskeard School and Jessy at Oak Tree School.

You can find incredible talent, enthusiasm and skill among students who have special educational needs and / or disabilties (as we hope this magazine illustrates). But it’s natural for some employers to feel they would like support in ensuring that they can make sure a work experience opportunity goes well.

Our editorial team have the following tips for any employers offering much-needed work experience opportunities to SEND students.

1. Give information about the workplace ahead of the work experience.

Making sure that the student knows where to go, how to get there, and what the place looks like if you have a photo is really helpful for making a student feel less anxious about coming for work experience.

2. Give a welcome tour

Taking time out to make the student feel welcomed when they arrive makes a big difference. Also it is very helpful to make sure you have shown them where they can have lunch, where the toilets are and where they need to find things so they can do their job so they can settle in.

3. Find out about the student

Many SEND students have a personal portfolio page that helps you to know what they like, what they don’t like and key needs. For example, a student may not like being near sudden loud noises and may find it helpful to wear headphones at work.


Talking to the teaching staff to find out about the student will help to make sure the work experience is a good fit, and that you and your staff know the best ways to make the experience go as well as possible.

4. Have a quiet place for time out

Some SEND students, and often a lot of regular staff can find it helpful to have a quiet space where they can step out for a minute and just take a short break. Do you have a space like this you could make available?

5. Assign a work buddy

A very helpful thing to do is to assign a current member of staff as a work buddy for the student, so they can can them questions about the job they are doing and where to eat their lunch etc.

6. Adapt a role where you can

Some SEND students may not be able to do all parts of a job, but there may be some elements, such as working with animals, taking photographs or doing detailed work that they really excel at. Making sure the work they are doing plays to their strengths can make the experience work well for everyone.

7. Give clear instructions

Make sure you clearly explain what needs to be done and when, and provide this information in different formats. Some students may struggle with reading, others may not be able to process verbal information easily, so providing it verbally and in writing, so they can go back and check, may be helpful.Some students may find a visual chart of tasks that need to be done are helpful, or you could physically demonstrate the job once or twice so they can see it being done.

8. Ask the student what things are most helpful

In any situation where someone has a disability or learning difference, the best expert at how to help is most often that person, sometimes a carer or teacher’s input is also valuable, but asking the person themselves is always the first step.

9. Consider a uniform

If your staff have a uniform and you have spare items, giving the student a uniform while they work can help them to feel included and part of the team.

10. Keep checking in

A person’s needs may change or they may realise they need help with something after they have been working for a day or two. Checking in once or twice a day, or asking the work buddy to do this will help to make sure the student feels comfortable asking for help if they need it. Some SEND students may lack confidence to do this unless you have a regular check-in to ask if everything is OK.

If you are interested in offering work experience, you can register your interest by emailing

You can also find more information on the Cornwall Opportunities website: supported-employment-and-internships/

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 21


Alfie from Liskeard School caught up with Matthew Foyster, the new Volunteer Manager at Access Cornwall. Find out more about Matt and the work he does to help Cornish hospitality businesses…

Alfie: How did you get involved with Access Cornwall?

Matt: “I noticed an advert on Facebook originally. And it was for a reviewer to review attractions in Cornwall.I signed up and was trained as an Access Cornwall reviewer as a volunteer myself at first. Then as a result of that I was offered a job at a company connected to Access Cornwall. I’ve recently now been employed by Access Cornwall and I’m a volunteer manager.”

Alfie: How long have you been a part of Access Cornwall?

Matt: “I’ve been employed in this role for over a month. But I initially joined Access Cornwall as a volunteer about two years ago and I was employed as an Accessibility Trainer as a result of that about a year and a half ago.


Alfie: “I understand you used to serve in the army as a chef. What was that like?

Matt: “I enjoyed it. It was hard work, though. The job involved going on exercise and doing live tours and they were a bit of a challenge. I joined the army in 1993. Although there wasn’t a lot of trouble in the world like it is now, there were still things like the troubles in Northern Ireland. I think out of three years I spent two months in camp, the rest of the time I was out on exercise or tour.”

Alfie: Were there difficult times?

Matt: “Yes. I was a chef in the army, so we had to feed all the soldiers. So when they went on exercise when they were relaxing I was still working, cooking and making sure they had food. If they were on guard duty then I’d have to make sure that they had hot soup and coffee and tea all the way through the night.

So literally you would get up at about four o’clock in the morning and you’d be lucky to go to bed by about midnight the next day, and you’d work constantly all the way through.”

Alfie: How long were you in the army?

Matt: For seven years. I joined in 1993 and then in 2000, I was medically discharged.

Alfie: “So, what exactly do you do for Access Cornwall?”

Matt: “I am the volunteer manager. So what we have is volunteers who are trained to carry out surveys, and audits of places in Cornwall. They then help our team to write up reviews so people who have disabilities or learning differences or other kinds of accessibility needs can find out if a place is suitable for them to visit. It also helps Cornish businesses to make sure they are as inclusive as they can be, so they get more customers and visitors. It’s a lot of fun and we’re actually looking for more volunteers at the moment.

You can find out more about Access Cornwall at or email

It’s a lot of fun and we’re actually looking for more volunteers at the moment. MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 23


Several companies are already benefiting from supporting students with special educational needs and / or disabilities in the workplace through the supported internship scheme.

Here the team at Gwel an Mor resort and Cornwall Countryside Supplies share their experiences, and motives for offering work opportunities to young people with SEND.

“Reports from every person he has worked with have been absolutely fantastic,” says Simon Stanworth, Maintenance Manager at Gwel an Mor resort near Portreath of his intern Jordan who has been working on the outdoor grounds and indoor maintenance teams. “If he’s ever struggling, he’s honest and he asks for help and the team can help him. You can’t ask for any more than that. It has been a real pleasure to have him working on the team.”

While working at the resort Jordan has been learning new skills to help upgrade and improve some of the interior fittings in the resort’s luxury lodges as well as carrying out work to keep the grounds well maintained. Meanwhile, his fellow student Kian, who hopes to work in the hospitality trade in Cornwall has been working with Simon’s colleague Laura Starr, Head of Housekeeping.”Kian has enjoyed his job here so much he is actually doing an extra day each week,” says Laura. “It has been an amazing experience to have him working with us. Right from the initial interview, he has fitted in really well with the team, and it’s been rewarding to see a confidence come out in him that wasn’t there on day one.

“We want Kian to feel comfortable in his work, so we go out the the lodge he is working on on the day and go over what needs to be done. He also gets paperwork to sign off to give him ownership and responsibility for the work. He also knows my door is always open if he wants to talk about anything whether that is work-related or personal.”

“I would definitely encourage other employers to embrace the opportunity to offer supported internships. Through the work we have been doing here over the last year we are definitely seeing new skill sets coming out into the workforce and we’re also seeing just how much confidence this opportunity builds for the students.”

Every day he comes into work with a smile on his face

This is a sentiment echoed by Julie Nicholls of Cornwall Countryside Supplies who have offered student Ollie a placement helping with their agricultural supplies business near Chacewater.

“Every day he comes into work with a smile on his face,” says Julie. “He’s keen to get on with his work. He goes straight into the shop to see what he has to do and he loves being up there with the lads and being part of the team.

“I encourage everyone who employs people, whatever they do,to get involved in this scheme. The key is to give the student the same jobs that everyone else does and to let them become part of the team. I’ve noticed Ollie has just blossomed since he’s been coming here.He smiles all the time, and I find that very encouraging. He’s really enjoying his job, and it’s a great thing for everyone to enjoy their work.”

Jordan, Ollie and Kian shared their experiences as supported interns in videos produced by Access Cornwall for the Cornwall Opportunities website. You can watch them and find more resources at supported-employment-and-internships/

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 25


With the right preparation, the overwhelming majority of young people with Special Educational Needs and / or Disabilities (SEND) are capable of succeeding in sustainable paid work. However, government data shows that pupils with SEND are less likely to be in sustained employment 15 years after key stage 4 than students who do not have additional needs or challenges.

Supported internships are a great opportunity to change this, and employers play a key role.

Not only does offering a supported internship improve the life chances of young people with SEND by giving them valuable opportunities to experience and show their competence in the working world - the scheme is also a good opportunity for employers to recruit from a largely untapped pool of very willing and able young workers.

What are supported internships?

Supported internships are in essence an unpaid work placement of between six to 12 months for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP).


The work placement is usually arranged by an education provider where the student is enrolled. During the work placement, the student, who will remain in education but will spend most of their time in a workplace. They are supported while at their placement by a trained job coach whose support tapers off as the young person becomes more confident in their working role.

Job coaches also work with the employer, increasing their confidence in employing individuals with additional needs and helping them to create and support a diverse workforce.

The supported internship should contribute to the long-term career goals of the young person and match their capabilities. Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by the school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths at an appropriate level.


If you are interested in offering a supported internship to a young person in Cornwall, you can register your interest by emailing

You can find more information on the Cornwall Opportunities website: supported-employment-and-internships/

MAY 2024 | ISSUE NO 01 27

If you would like to find out more about offering valuable work opportunities and experience to SEND students in Cornwall, join the Diversity to Thrive network today.

You can email or click on this link to sign up to the Diversity to Thrive newsletter.

Thanks to Perran Tremewan of Cornwall Rural Community Charity for photographs of the Newquay Orchard Community to Thrive event.

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