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New partnership supports SEND learners in the workplace

A work placement with a Newcastle-based insurance brokers has given one young adult with special educational needs experience of the world of work.

Christopher, from Sunderland, is completing a long-term work placement with Lycetts, joining staff at the firm’s Newcastle office for a half day every week.

The placement has been organised in partnership with Learning for Life, a specialist provider of education and social care for children and adults aged 16+ with high support needs, special educational needs or disabilities.

Marie Matthewson, Principal at Learning for Life, said: "This opportunity has been amazing for Christopher, the skills he has developed have surpassed expectation and his self-esteem has grown beyond belief. Lycetts is a wonderful organisation to work with. They have proved partnership working enriches not only Christopher’s life but the lives of all those involved. Staff have greater knowledge of disabilities and many barriers have been broken down. This is an incredible achievement."

Charles Renwick, Head of Management Services at Lycetts, explained: “Over the years Lycetts has supported many highly worthy charities and good causes, and it’s a key part of our corporate remit that all available profits are donated to a variety of charitable causes under the auspices of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and the Allchurches Trust. We have now entered into partnership with Learning for Life, a small but brilliant charity which aims to make the lives of those young people that they support better and more meaningful.”

Christopher is supported during his work placement by a member of the Learning for Life team and will continue his placement at Lycetts until the end of  theacademic year. As well as experiencing day to day life in the workplace, Christopher’s placement is resulting in increased confidence and new skills.

Charles Renwick added: “While it is greatly rewarding for us that this experience of work has been so positive for Christopher, equally it has been a positive experience for all our staff in Newcastle, who have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Christopher over the last 18 months. He has been a great addition to the office. Christopher has become part of our team in Newcastle and we hope that this will be the first of many such placements in the future.”

Learning for Life provides care and education through activities both on site and in the community, with learners participating in practical skills such as shopping, food preparation,home management skills, independent living, wellbeing and the world of work.

Alongside the work placement, Lycetts has made a donation to Learning for Life, some of which has been used to buy a suit, shirts and shoes for Christopher to wear to work.

Resources for supporting young people with SEND with careers guidance can be found on North East Ambition here