The council is set to offer internships to students with additional needs (SEND) as part of a partnership with a Woodley school.

Councillors outlined plans for their ‘Workingham’ scheme last week, a project which aims to provide placements for young SEND adults from Addington School in a variety of the authority’s departments.

Executive member for children’s services councillor Pauline Helliar-Symons said: “This is an amazing opportunity.

“94 per cent of people with learning difficulties remain unemployed.

“I’m more than happy to support what they are doing here. It is part of our strategy to help these youngsters.

“It is a brilliant school and the headteacher has got this fantastic initiative that we must support.”

A report produced for the council highlighted that the school is particularly interested in exploring the possibility of placements for its students at council teams including parks, leisure centres and graveyards maintenance.

Addington School caters for more than 200 SEND students and some of its pupils have already found internships, such as at Wokingham cafe Shuters, with two-thirds of them having used the opportunity to find permanent employment later on.

The partnership was proposed by the school after discussions took place between council directors, and it has been proposed that four young people take part in the programme in the first year.

If the scheme is successful, eight pupils would take up placements in year two, with another four joining them in the third year.

Councillor Simon Weeks said: “We should promote this quite strongly to encourage other employers in the borough to step forward.

“It takes them away from the institutional environment they are subjected to sometimes, so I am in great support of this.”

There are more than 4,000 SEND students in Wokingham borough and the cost of educating a young adult with learning difficulties from the ages of 5 – 19 costs £336,000.

A report produced for the council outlined that there is a “a low investment

return on this spending”, and that it is hoped the project will become self-funding and self-supporting, with expansion of the scheme dependent on the influence of the council.

The plans were discussed by Wokingham Borough Council’s top branch at a meeting on Thursday, November 29, where councillors approved the partnership.