University of Hertfordshire provides work placement opportunities for local students with SEND

 1 January 2024 28 June 2023
28 June 2023

The University of Hertfordshire’s Student Information Service (SIS) recently partnered with Oaklands College to provide work experience placement opportunities for learners on supported internship programmes.

The internships provided support for the University’s start of term operations within SIS, and most importantly helped to develop and enhance a core range of transferable customer service and administrative skills for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The partnership has now been recognised as best practice in the college’s recent Ofsted monitoring visit and will be replicated again next year to extend the benefits to more learners.

One of the key challenges of the partnership was ensuring SIS were confident in their understanding of SEND and how they could engage and support the young people working with them. This involved working with local authority autism specialists to provide background knowledge, and working closely with Oaklands to better understand their students’ individual support needs.

SEND student Lydia has been working with SIS over the last academic year, helping respond to student queries. She impressed the SIS team with her knowledge, enthusiasm, humour and quick wit, so much so that she will be working as a casual member of staff to help with start of term in the next academic year.

Lydia says:

“During my supported internship I have done a range of tasks with the team including taking student photos, printing and handing out ID cards for new students, scanning and copying biometric residency permit (BRP) forms and inputting information into computers. I have also served customers at the Ask Herts hubs, and helped with stock inventory. At the moment, I am working closely with the team to be trained to help answer phone calls and help with other queries ready for the new term.”

“Working at the University has helped with my confidence: it’s helped me gain new customer service skills, helping me talk to people and be more comfortable when talking to new people. I’ve come out of my shell a bit more and have gained way more independence. I have formed good working relationships with my colleagues and job coaches and I am very grateful for them in understanding and supporting my special needs.”


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