A group of students from Suffolk Rural College visited Suffolk County Council to explain to top bosses that they want to be given the same opportunities as everyone else.
Since December last year, the College has been working with the Children and Young People’s Engagement Hub at the Council who support the SEND YPN.
(SEND YPN stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Young Person’s Network).
SEND YPN give young people the chance to have their say and help shape services and support provided for children and young people based in Suffolk, who have special educational needs and disabilities.
As part of this ongoing partnership, a group of learners from the College gave a presentation and showed a video to members of the SEND Programme Board who were meeting at Endeavour House in Ipswich. The overall message of the video was to plea with local businesses to not overlook them in the jobs market.
Cherese Bradnum is a lecturer at Suffolk Rural. She said: “This is all about getting young people’s voices heard. Just because they have an inclusive need doesn’t mean they should be differently. They deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.”
Jess Walker is a Co-Production Adviser at the Engagement. Jess said: “The SEND Programme Board were impressed by the presentation. The video has subsequently been used at an inclusivity conference for careers advisors. Our work has been ongoing for over five years. We want to get the voices of young people with SEND and make sure that the money the Council, NHS and partners is putting in to SEND services is what young people need.”
Kimberley Nightingale, 23, from Ipswich is a former student at Suffolk Rural. After volunteering at a nursery she has recently secured paid employment. Kimberley said: “It was good presenting – the message is loud and clear that we want the same opportunities as everyone else. If you give young people a chance, they can prove themselves and then become a good employee.”
Current student, Jordan Britton, 18 from Ipswich said: “At start of year I wasn’t too sure if I wanted a job as I didn’t have much confidence but Jess, Cherese and the team listened to us and helped me realise I could have a job one day.”