Keith Bates, Head of Employment at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities:
“Sixteen (www.sixteencoop.co.uk), the new arrival in the world of supported employment, has today launched its new website. Established with the support of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, Sixteen is designed to increase the capacity for job coaching to enable more people to get and keep a job by offering solutions for people interested in delivering good quality supported employment.
Sixteen aims to add a new approach to the provision of employment support for people with a learning disability in England. The unique approach of blending tried and tested supported employment approaches, a mutual stance, and elements of social franchising will mean Sixteen offers a refreshingly new way of working.
Local authority areas will be able to buy into Sixteen and mould the service to fit their own local circumstances; individuals and families who hold an individual budget will be able to get the support they want, secure in the knowledge that all employment workers within Sixteen will be trained and supported to the highest standards. The workers themselves will not only be able to use Sixteen as the vehicle for their own employment, but be able to develop a career within the supported employment industry.
Its aims are threefold:
- For individuals and those that support them, they provide good quality job coaching in line with developing quality standards, training and professionalism;
- For Local Authorities and service providers, they help to build the capacity of job support on the ground that can be accessed by local authorities working through the change from commissioned services to individual budgets; and
- For workers, they provide an employment 'vehicle' that enables individuals to work in the field supported by an organisation that they have a stake in.
Sixteen has been set up in response to the growing demand for employment support by people with learning disabilities but is essentially a partnership – between Sixteen and the Local Authority, between Sixteen and the potential and existing employment workers, and between Sixteen and the individuals with learning disabilities and their families. This is not a one model fix but a process of working together to develop the vehicle needed in any one locality to supply the support required.”