This Student Can: charity challenges the way workplaces look at disability 

With only 6% of people with a learning disability in paid work, the future can often be a concern for parents of those with additional needs.  

Having a learning disability causes a person lifelong reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, however with the right help and support individuals with a learning disability can lead an independent life. 

Specialist Stockport charity Seashell Trust has launched its ‘This Student Can’ campaign to help to encourage businesses to change their mind-set on offering disabled students work placements.  

The campaign showcases how it secures valuable work placements for its students, who have profound learning disabilities and communication needs. Thanks to its work placement programme, the school and college at Seashell are helping its children and young people have an active part in the community. 

The school and college have been running two work placement programmes which have complimented each other for six years. Last year, the programmes saw 25 students secure work placements in a variety of businesses including working at Tatton Park, Hilton Hotel, and Lakeland. 

With each of the students having different needs and abilities, it’s important that the school and college work closely with the individual to find a placement that is suitable and enjoyable.  

Choosing this involves a variety of different methods and is tailored to the individual. As many of the students are non-verbal, staff at Seashell have to be innovative with their ways of communicating with each student. 

Some students will use tools such as iPads to express how they feel when doing a certain task, such as gardening or preparing food. The reaction to this will help teachers to decide which placement would be best suited for the individual. 

The charities ‘This Student Can’ campaign aims to showcase the work placement opportunities of those who have been educated at Seashell, in a bid to encourage companies to consider giving placements to those with disabilities and communication needs.  

Carol Honeini, who is the leader of the Internship program at Seashell, said: “We believe in our students at Seashell and we want to help them find an activity that they enjoy and learn from. Our aim is to give every student an opportunity and help people live a more integrated life.” 

The campaign will focus on Seashell students who have overcome significant barriers to develop and progress, following their journeys as they undergo their work placements. 

You can follow the progress of the students on social media and on the website, where real life case studies are regularly featured: www.seashelltrust.org.uk @seashelltrust

Take a look at our current newsletter for more on student careers at Seashell.