Blogs - 30 October 2020

Blog: Supporting SEN/D students in the time of Coronavirus

­­In this blog, D2N2 Enterprise Coordinator EMILY CARTER talks about the challenges the Coronavirus pandemic presents to people with SEN/D and how D2N2 is helping to redress the balance.

 Since the pandemic began, there has been a great deal of attention to the importance of careers education and guidance as an integral part of a young person’s education.

This attention has resulted in the creation of new innovative ways of helping young people maintain their connection to the world of work through digital platforms.

The term ‘careers’ has always been of interest to me, particularly when looking at the challenges that many people face with regard to accessing employment opportunities even before the time of Coronavirus.

Like everyone at D2N2, I believe that we need to continue to inspire young people and showcase new opportunities, but to do this, we need to first break down the barriers to employment that some young people experience.

D2 SEN/D Community of Practice

Whilst the pandemic has had a significant impact on our daily personal and working lives, for the 14% of young people with SEN/D (Special Educational Needs and/or Disability) the economic consequences of the Coronavirus add yet another layer to the significant barriers they face in making the transition from school to further learning and work.

As part of D2N2’s inclusion agenda, we are working hard to ensure that our communities have access to a range of opportunities throughout the region to help address these barriers.

By emphasising partnership working between education and industry, we’re helping to build and enhance relationships between employers and schools to better serve our region’s young people.

Our activities include supporting Ambassadors for SEND, providing parents and carers with up to date information and local offers, and creating new resources to equip stakeholders with information to promote best practice and support this agenda.

We also support Recruiting Talent events designed to help employers make their hiring processes more inclusive and showing them where they can find the skills they need for tomorrow within the community of today.

The work of our members within the D2 SEND Community of Practice (a local network of schools and college career professionals in Derby and Derbyshire) is also vital.

This group helps to shape local projects and initiatives such as supported internships, accessible labour market information, and Q&A resources.

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Inclusive Work Experience

Possibly the single greatest barrier to employment for those with SEN/D the Coronavirus is responsible for is the elimination of face to face work experience placements.

Like all young people, work experience placements are a vital way for those with SEN/D to learn new skills and showcase their strengths.

Without these practical opportunities though, many SEN/D students will find it difficult to access employment in the current climate.

Although some organisations have begun offering work experience online, these are not an accessible option for all, whether due to personal need or digital poverty.

To solve this issue we need to think collaboratively and it’s only through a partnership between inclusive employers and schools that creative and innovative ways to support our young people with SEN/D will be pioneered, ensuring no child is left behind.

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