The Engage to Change project has worked across Wales to support young people aged 16-25 who have a learning difficulty, learning disability and/or autism to achieve their full potential.
Using a person-centred approach, Engage to Change worked closely with young people, their parents/carers and employers to:
- overcome barriers to employment
- develop transferable skills
- offer unpaid work experience
- provide paid supported employment
- find volunteering opportunities
- offer access to supported internships.
Learning Disability Wales led a consortium of organisations to deliver the Engage to Change project. These included supported employment agencies ELITE (in South Wales) and Agoriad (in North Wales), self-advocacy organisation All Wales People First, and the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) at Cardiff University. We are also worked in collaboration with the international internship programme DFN Project SEARCH.
The Engage to Change project successfully provided employment support to 1,070 young people with a learning difficulty, learning disability and/or autism over a 7-year period that ended on 31 May 2023 The project is no longer accepting referrals.
Update June 2023:
Learning Disability Wales and the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University, working with ELITE Supported Employment, are pleased to announce that additional funding has been secured from the National Lottery Community Fund and Welsh Government. Over the next 18 months, this funding will enable Engage to Change Influencing and Informing to take forward the policy, research, and legacy work of the Engage to Change project.
We will continue to work with Welsh Government, DWP, local authorities, health boards, colleges, supported employment agencies and other organisations with the aim of ensuring that supported employment, including specialist job coach support, is funded and available across Wales.
The project was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund – the largest ever awarded by the organisation in Wales. The grant was developed in partnership with Welsh Government to meet priorities for supporting children and young people. It is funded by money that has been dormant in bank and building society accounts across the UK for 15 years or more.
For more information on Engage to Change please visit our dedicated project website. You’ll find personal stories, blogs, videos, easy read information, and all the latest news.