Case Study – i-Work for students with special education needs in UK

i-Work is a course combining three one-day workshops: Engage Me, Employ Me and Enterprise Me. It is intended for learners who want to experience work for the first time, or the first time in a long time, and lack the confidence and drive to secure work independently.

i-Work was initially developed for 14-15 year old students with special educational needs, including physical and emotional needs, who were planning to undertake a two-week work experience placement for the first time. The aim was to benefit a group of students who were at risk of not completing it successfully.

“i-Work was an outstanding success, providing intensive, bespoke training and support for our special needs students,” said Paul Winter, senior teacher at St. Paul’s Catholic School. “The interactive and lively sessions built knowledge, confidence and understanding about the world of work. As a result of the course, the pupils did very well on work experience. All of them completed the two weeks and gained a huge amount of confidence and self esteem that will benefit them in both the short and long term.

“i-Work is good for including these kinds of learners, especially the first workshop (Engage Me), as it doesn’t require a lot of reading and writing from all students. The course developed the students’ speaking and listening, team work, problem solving and the other employability skills which we know local employers require. We were pleasantly surprised by the very positive reports from the host employers. It also seems to have helped improve the students’ motivation to succeed at school when they returned.”

One of the students said: “Without the i-Work training course I would have found it much more difficult on work experience. It trained me to understand the similarities between GCSE work (preparing for national academic exams) and real work, like doing different things every day and meeting deadlines”.

Another said: “Doing the course helped me realise that, if I want to be something good when I’m older, then I need to study hard now”.

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