Talkback were delighted to take part in the Shout out for SEND conference last Wednesday. Hosted by Buckinghamshire Council, this free event took place at Adams Park and focussed on ‘Preparation for Adulthood’.
The conference aimed to support young people with learning disabilities to be as ready as they can be for adulthood. The young people attending the event had the opportunity to take part in interactive workshops. These were based on their own interests and ambitions for the future.
At the conference, Talkback provided workshops on supported employment and volunteering, as well as work experience opportunities. We were particularly proud when one of our members, Robert (pictured above alongside Chris Taylor) bravely shared his story about how, with support and advice from Talkback, he had managed to navigate travelling up to London, a truly amazing achievement.
A fantastic opportunity
Chris Taylor, Head of Business Development & Partnerships at Talkback, commented: “This conference was a fantastic opportunity for young SEND students to come together. And to experience the wealth of opportunities available to them for the next chapters of their lives. What’s key is that students discovered the next stages and processes in their education. From transitioning to college, choosing their qualifications, employment and beyond. For Talkback, having an open dialogue with the students, staff and carers at the workshop was vital. Because it meant we could really listen to their experiences and journeys and offer our services. Thereby supporting them in the best way possible. Because it’s about ensuring that everyone has the tools to succeed and make their aspirations come into fruition.”
Attendees heard from ADVIZA, who provided impartial careers advice and guidance, to young people. By offering them a bespoke package of comprehensive information about apprenticeships. Bucks New University and their Student Ambassadors shared how the university has supported them with their lived experience. As well as giving real examples of a student’s journey.
Bucks College Group shared their options for college and sixth form. In addition, Stoney Dean delivered a session about the options on Supported Internships. As well as the chance to meet other young people currently completing Supported Internships. And BUDS, who raised awareness around the many benefits of volunteering in local communities.
Also speaking at the event were Rachael Shimmin, Buckinghamshire Council’s Chief Executive, Richard Nash, Corporate Director for Children’s Services and Simon James, Buckinghamshire Council’s Director of Education.
They were introduced by Shaun, a 14-year old student from Aylesbury Grammar School who helped plan the event and said:
“I am here to say what opportunities young people such as you and me, with special educational needs and/or disabilities have access to, which help us spread our valued opinions and help others see any problems that can be fixed or sorted to some very satisfactory way. I hope I have persuaded you to join or more of these amazing or impactful groups.”
Young people attending also heard from Louise who is 19 and has Autism, she said:
“I have just started university, studying education studies, and am hoping that I can use my experiences to help others. I want to leave you with one message and that is, you are capable of building the life that you imagine for yourselves, whatever that looks like and that things always get better no matter how hard they initially seem.”
Simon James, Buckinghamshire Council’s Director of Education added:
“If there was a single word for the conference, I would say – inspiring. Our young people have shown us that with the right support and confidence they can go onto great things. We are immensely proud of them all.”