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It’s been an amazing week.

On Monday and Tuesday, I had the privilege of showcasing our trust’s work to BASE. BASE is the British Association for Supported Employment. Over 200 delegates met in Milton Keynes.

I was delighted to deliver a key note speech that centred on our employability strategy. When I was preparing the presentation, it was really inspiring to look back and evaluate our journey.

In 2008 a number of colleagues from Oldham went over to Cincinnati in the United States to observe a radical new employment model. It allowed young people with additional needs to move into the world of work. Since that time, our developments have been both remarkable and rapid:

  • 2008 ~ Cincinnati visit/Bridging the Gap (BtG) created at Royal Oldham Hospital
  • 2009 ~ Second BtG project set up at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
  • 2010 ~ MMU set up second project at Crewe Campus
  • 2011 ~ North Manchester NHS Trust roll out BtG across four hospitals
  • 2012 ~ Two more schools invited to share BtG at MMU
  • 2016 ~ New Bridge Group Employability Matrix introduced
  • 2016 ~ BtG reinstated at MMU
  • 2016 ~ Future Finders opened via Manchester College
  • 2016 ~ The Atrium Café opened
  • 2017 ~ Pre Internship pathway launched at Medtia
  • 2017 ~ Over 100 students across the trust accessed work experience placements for at least a full term over the year
  • 2018 ~ Future Finders Employability College opens
  • 2018 ~ 30 students access internship programmes and work placements for between 12 and 20 hours per week, EVERY WEEK!
  • 2019 ~ Springboard Project to open
  • Currently in development ~ two new employment pathways at Key Stage 4 and at the Key Stage 5 Learning Centre site to include a core offer of work placement, enterprise and careers insight

When I looked at some of the national statistics that were presented on the day, it made really positive reading. We are seeing real progress in this area. There are now over 10,000 employers signed up to the Disability Confident campaign (find out more here). More organisations than ever are seeing the value of employing people with additional needs.

Our trust has more work to do, particularly on self-employment and sourcing employment and community pathways for those learners with more overlapping needs. We will get there. Look what we have achieved in 10 years. Here’s to the next 10 years!!

Have a great weekend,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here