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Supporting young people with mild to moderate learning disabilities into sustained employment


MoveForward supports young people aged 15-24 with mild to moderate learning disabilities to make the successful transition from education to full-time paid employment and equips employers and families to support these aspirations. They support young people in a long-term way and combine coaching with exposure to the world of work.


Samuel Rhodes have worked closely with ThinkForward since 2016, initially as part of their research project and then as part of their pilot MoveForward Programme in 2017. The research they conducted identified a gap in provision to support young people with moderate learning disabilities in their transition from education into employment.


MoveForward have Progression Coaches that work with young people to develop a range of important life and employability skills to prepare them for the workplace. They engage closely with schools, colleges and parents to coordinate the best possible range of support.


They are unique because of their long-term approach. Young people are enrolled in school year 11 and can stay on the programme through to their early twenties. This ensures they are fully supported during the key transition from education into employment, and crucially through the early stages of their working life.


At Samuel Rhodes our coach is Katharine McKnight and he is currently supporting 15 pupils who are still at school and is still supporting 20 who have left Samuel Rhodes. Katharine works across Islington and has a case load of 45+ young people


Through MoveForward 30 adults have been supported into full time work.

  • Katharine's highly trained and work full time to deliver a personalised programme of support including 1-2-1 coaching, group workshops, workplace exposures, supported work experience placements and parental engagement.
  • Young People are assessed and tracked at regular intervals against a Work Readiness Capabilities scale to ensure support is needs led and to demonstrate distance travelled.
  • Engagement and assessment with families is a key component of the programme design to raise parental aspiration.
  • The team includes a Business Partnerships Manager to broker workplace opportunities for young people and supported employment pathways.
  • MoveForward partners with DFN-Project SEARCH and other supported internship providers in each region to support smoother transitions to those programmes and ultimately to achieve better job outcomes.
  • The programme coordinates all the key players in the eco-system surrounding the young person to achieve positive employment and life outcomes, i.e. education providers, parents, service providers, employers and local authorities.

This central government funded programme is delivered in 3 regions across 7 education partners in:

  • London: Samuel Rhodes School and City & Islington College.
  • The West Midlands: Woodlands School in Coleshill, The Westminster School in Rowley Regis and Welcombe Hills School, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Kent & Medway: Bradfields Academy in Chatham and MidKent College in Medway and Maidstone.