Supported Insight Scheme

Raising Aspirations through Supported Insight

Supported Insight SchemeSupported Insight Scheme

On average, only 1.8% of people with a learning disability are in employment within the D2N2 region. In addition, no student who left Stubbin Wood School, Ashgate Croft School or Alfreton Park Community Special School in the last academic year secured paid employment. The Direct Education Business Partnership (DEBP) wanted to take direct action to address these alarming statistics to better prepare young people for internships and work-based transitions after leaving school.  


Together with two other partner businesses, Direct Education Business Partnership (DEBP) approached our Business Support Manager, Matt Bust, to develop a tailored learning and development programme that goes far beyond traditional work experience, to:

  • Equip students with employability skills, resilience and confidence to bridge the gap between leaving school and transitioning to the workplace
  • Support business and enable them to see the value that people with learning disabilities can offer
  • Enable long-term classroom support for students after completing the programme, encouraging long-term development.

The Supported Insight Scheme was Born

A pilot focused on matching three schools to three local business.  After 9 months of development, planning and collaboration, the scheme started in November 2021.

School Partner Business
Stubbin Wood School The Arc Leisure Centre
Ashgate Croft School Bolsover Partnership Team
Alfreton Park Community Special School Robert Woodhead Limited

Scheme Mechanics

To support the partner business, training and support was provided by the DEBP.  Prior to starting, students and business provided biographies to allow students to get to know who they will be working with and business to understand the students’ needs in more detail. The programme was business led, meaning placement hours could be flexible and accommodating whilst balancing partner businesses’ needs with a clear understanding that flexibility and adaptability would be a key success factor.

  • Over a 6-week period, students were placed with various areas of the partner business to provide a broad spectrum of insight to allow students to explore the world of work.
  • For example, at Robert Woodhead Limited, students worked with Pre-Construction, Construction, Business Services.
  • What makes this work placement different, students were accompanied by an Employability Worker, Lana, who provided two-way support between the students and the businesses.

Overcoming Barriers

Transport: Schools were able to arrange safe transport for students to partner business, giving business confidence that students would arrive on time.

Duration: It was decided to spread the duration over 6 weeks between 10am-2pm, despite placements typically being delivered over a week period. This prevented students from feeling overwhelmed with little time to review and discuss what worked.  Having a longer-term placement allowed students to share their experiences with their peers.

Health and safety: Detailed Risk and Method Statements were produced; Health and Safety was not seen as a barrier.  For example, as a construction business we looked at what we could offer safely, rather than what we can’t do.  Students could visit sites, even having a go at certain trades g after tailored safety inductions, such as bricklaying, giving valuable and real-life skills and experience.

Key Success Drivers

Flexibility: The programme was flexible and responsive to business needs, allowing for changes to the programme to be made at short notice

Shared understanding: Employer partners fully understood the vision and ethos of the pilot and shared feedback before, during and after to refine the scheme for future students.

Parent / Carer engagement: A joined-up approach beyond the business and school environments which encouraged parents and carers to take a proactive role in supporting their children with their transition into the world of work.

What’s Next?

DEBP will develop the programme further with an intention to roll out the scheme more widely.  Other businesses are encouraged to contact DEBP to find out more about becoming involved in future schemes.


We have also seen more of a shift in parents perspectives that their child can do more and finding employment in the future can be a possibility.” Amy Naylor, Alfreton Park School

We were comfortable and felt well prepared, everything was well planned and support has been fantastic all the way through.” Matt Bust, Robert Woodhead Limited.


Whitwell Cluster

Milner Road