coproduction and parent participation

Supported Internships Session

In March 2023 we held a sessions with parents and carers, and their children or young people if they wished to join us, to discuss Supported Internships in Bolton. 
Bolton Council has received funding to increase the number of supported internships available in Bolton. This session was to introduce the idea of supported internships and to listen to parents thoughts about the project. Some parents brought their children/young people to the session to also contribute their thoughts.
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What was the aim of the session?

The main topics to cover were:

Pre Supported Internship

What education/training is required?

How and when should conversations take place?

Supported Internship Offer

What kinds of employers would you like to see get involved and why?

Think about wider aspects of having a job and going to work.

Wider Family

How should wider family be included?

How would family be impacted?


What key points were taken away?

Pre-Supported Internship, what needs to happen, or what’s not there..
  • Majority felt that this would be progression after Y14 and not earlier. 
  • C0ncern that annual reviews don’t cover anything like this kind of forward thinking discussion.
  • EHC’s would need to be updated to reflect that this is the pathway the ch/yp is working towards.
  • It’s a fine balance to get the timing right so the young person is ready, too soon and it could be a failure with large consequences for the YP.
  • Lifeskills education does not happen in school to support this pathway- mainstream, special, independent. Where it does happen too generic, and not individualised.
  • Understanding the value of money – working towards recognising minimum wage etc.
  • If a supported internship is the final part of ‘education and training’ then more emphasis needs to be put on learning about being employed before commiting – ie money, wages, benefits etc. 
  • Need opportunities for ‘taster sessions’ in a variety of industries to have an idea what working is like and what kind of roles they might like, or not like.
  • Loud and clear from every single person in the room – travel training! 
  • Preparing social skills.
Overview – Alot of concern from parents that even once a YP is in Y14, they still haven’t accessed individualised life skills education – not in relation to moving into a SI. Young People said it’s hard to know what kind of job you might want as never had a chance to try anything. (example of Y12 doing work experience in Reprographics Dept at school – had no idea it existed, but relly enjoyed it.) 
What would you like to see from the offer?
  • Employers who are genuinely committed to inclusion
  • Variety of options
  • GMP, NHS, Royal Mail, Office Work, animals, AO, Middlebrook, social care, education settings, including before and after school clubs, lone working jobs, companies that offer careers, museum and library service, Bolton at Home, Bolton Wanderers, Warburtons, Gyms, Seddons, B&Q
  • Don’t underestimate, or overestimate my child! Don’t assume they can only carry out menial jobs, but also don’t look at the young person who turns up on time, looking clean, smart and appropriately dressed, with the right equipment has done that alone!  
Impacts on wider family/other concerns
  • Parents would play a huge part, especially at the start, possibly throughout with transport
  • Quite confusing as the SI year is ‘education’ but day-to-day it’s ‘work’ 
  • Benefits minefield – family should be offered 1:1 session with DWP
  • Parents should be included in the initial conversations – parents do advocate realistically for their ch/yp and may be able to offer better insight than the educational setting about readiness and skills. 
  • Cost – uniform/appropriate clothing
  • What’s the step-down process from education/final handover to employer? Who do you go back to if it’s not working after a short time?
  • Job coaches will be hugely important – could parents be involved in interview process?
  • If parents have lots of questions, employers who aren’t emersed in SEND, will have lots more.

What happens next?

All the feedback from the sessions has been shared with Chantelle Brown, Children’s Reform Programme Manager, who will be incorporating parents and carers views into the project as it progresses.