Eight young people with special educational needs (SEN) are looking forward to a brighter future following the completion of a tailored internship scheme created by Avon and Somerset Police.  

These year-long internships provided opportunities to work across a range of different areas within the police service, across four different sites. This included opportunities to gain experience in directly supporting police community support officers, as well as undertaking various admin and data entry roles across the service. Additional support was provided, such as transport to and from their site.  

They then spent one day a week on a course, gaining a mix of formal qualifications, as well as crucial informal life skills to support their progression into the world of work. For example, this has included project planning for an event, developing their abilities in planning, costing and budget management, problem solving, time management and creativity.  

Crucially, the learners have also developed skills in how to deal with worry, stress and anxiety in the workplace, a crucial soft skill to better enable them to thrive in the future. 

As a result of this potentially life-changing experience, these young people are now looking forward to greater independence and moving into work for the first time. Two of the graduates have already landed roles.   

The curriculum for this specialist programme was delivered by Seetec Outsource in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police, and the work experience programme was delivered by Discovery, a charity that supports individuals with additional needs to lead fulfilling lives. Discovery has played a crucial and significant role in the interns programme, providing social and emotional support throughout and is now actively supporting their progression into paid employment. 

One learner, Matt Leatherby, 23, spoke warmly of his time on this internship:

“I think the traineeship is a brilliant experience for me. I have met a lot of new people and gained a lot more confidence.” 

Lorraine Spiller, Vocational Tutor at Seetec Outsource, said:  “Young people with special educational needs can, through no fault of their own, find themselves quite far away from the labour market. These internships have therefore been transformational, providing a balance between learning valuable life skills and practical work experience. 

“Each of these learners has gone on a significant journey, and their future opportunities have now dramatically improved. We’re absolutely delighted to see each of them graduate from this programme!” 

Avon and Somerset Police’s Chief Constable, Sarah Crew, said: “I’m so pleased we’ve been able to offer these internships, with the support of Seetec and Discovery. I’ve followed the young people’s journeys closely and was really pleased to hear from them during their time with us.  

“We’ve also learned a lot from the young people themselves and have been able to have conversations about how we become more inclusive as a workplace as a result. All eight young people have been a fantastic addition to our service, and we’ve enjoyed supporting them to develop their experience of work.”