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Supported work experience and its impact on young people with intellectual disabilities, their families and employers

Beyer, Stephen ORCID:, Meek, Andrea and Davies, Amy 2016. Supported work experience and its impact on young people with intellectual disabilities, their families and employers. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities 10 (3) , pp. 207-220. 10.1108/AMHID-05-2014-0015

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Purpose – The Real Opportunities project set out to implement a number of the approaches identified through research that can assist transition to adulthood in nine local authority areas in Wales. Supported work experience was delivered by small job coaching teams in each area. The purpose of this paper is to establish the impact of the work experience and employment teams by describing the placements provided, any change in the skills of young people, and the responses to the placements by employers, young people and their families. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected over 24 months by participating employment services. Questionnaires were administered to employers. Interviews were carried out with a sub-sample of young people (24) participating and a family member (25). Findings – Over a 24-month period 297 young people received supported work experience. In total, 262 young people had an intellectual disability, 35 an autistic spectrum disorder. Up to three placements were delivered to each person, averaging five weeks per placement, with 405 placements in total. In total, 62 per cent of those with two placements had a different category of second work placement to their first. These numbers demonstrated that work experience in community placements is possible with support. Young people improved work skills significantly between first and second placements. Employers reported high satisfaction rates with the young person’s work in a range of key performance areas and company benefits from participation for other staff, company image and customer relations. Interviews with 24 young people and 25 of their family members reported satisfaction with support and placements. Six young people had paid work now, and 33 per cent said they would get a job at some future time. Families reported changes in young person’s outlook but their view of prospects of employment remained pessimistic due to the external environment. Research limitations/implications – Implications for future research are discussed. Practical implications – Implications for transition are discussed. Originality/value – The paper provides new insight into the impact of a large number of supported work experience placements.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 9/6/2016)
Publisher: Pier Professional
ISSN: 2044-1282
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 18 April 2016
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 21:45

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