Job opportunities for students with learning difficulties higher in Norfolk
Norfolk students with learning difficulties are more likely to find employment opportunities than in other parts of the country, thanks to a project supported by a number of local organisations. Nationally the employment rate for people with learning difficulties is only around 6%, but in Norfolk the conversion rate for those joining the scheme to finding jobs is 56%, a real encouragement for employment prospects in the county.
‘Project Search’, an Office for Disability Issues initiative, encourages local employers to help students with learning difficulties make the transition from education to the work environment. Students are placed with local employers for a year, working in three different areas of the organisation for four months in each role. During this time they also continue with education aimed at developing their work skills, under programmes specifically designed by education establishments in partnership with the employers. These formal classroom sessions are held on the employer’s premises, in this way they become totally immersed in the workplace environment and culture.
Since Project Search was first introduced into Norfolk, in 2008, 98 students have successfully completed work placements, with 55 finding employment opportunities. The students come from local education establishments, City College Norwich, Great Yarmouth College and the College of West Anglia, who also continue their involvement by delivering the workplace-based classroom learning.