The pilot programme has seen 19 young people aged 16-19-years-old offered taster sessions and work experience in a number of roles at the University including events and catering.
The programme was set up by staff in the University’s social mobility programme, South Yorkshire Futures, alongside colleagues at Nexus to increase the number of young people with special educational needs who enter the workplace.
Currently only six per cent of young people with special educational needs enter the workplace nationally. That figure drops to four per cent for South Yorkshire.
The programme aims to broaden the horizons of the young people by offering an insight into the variety of job roles within a university, as well as providing staff with extra skills and knowledge on how to support colleagues with additional needs.
It also aims to demonstrate the value to businesses in providing these opportunities – to encourage more employers to do the same.
The University will develop a toolkit for businesses and employers to support them to provide opportunities for young people with special educational needs following an evaluation of the pilot.
Sue O’Brien, Strategic Lead for South Yorkshire Futures at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This is a great opportunity all round. It showcases the range of employer opportunities at Sheffield Hallam to young people and creates much needed, meaningful experiences for autistic young people in the working world.
“It also demonstrates to other employers how to make this a successful experience for all and most importantly it demonstrates to us the skills, talents and benefits that these amazing young people can bring to our workplaces.”
Warren Carratt, Chief Executive Officer of Nexus Multi Academy Trust, said: “Employment and social inclusion outcomes for adults who have come through the special school system are nothing short of appalling, despite the amazing work done by schools.
“This model provides the necessary ‘reach in’ to give targeted, informed support for those adults with a learning difficulty or disability who could and should be able to sustain voluntary work or paid employment that enriches their lives and society at large.”
Read more about the work of the South Yorkshire Futures programme.