Carline Ikoroha, Supported Internship job coach at West Lea School in Enfield, has been awarded the ‘Highly Commended’ Practitioner of the Year at the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE) UK Best Practice Awards 2021.
In celebration of this award, she worked closely with students at West Lea School for years, helping them secure meaningful employment once they graduate. During her time at West Lea, she has supported over 80 students gain valuable skills through internships, of which 62 have been offered permanent employment.
Students at West Lea have a variety of complex needs, and so she works hard to ensure they gain the support they need to thrive and that their needs are being met.
Her work has been even more important during the pandemic. Not only have six in ten Covid-related deaths been disabled people, including those with special educational need and disabilities (SEND), but pre-existing workplace barriers have been accentuated by the pandemic. Today, a third of SEND workers feel they have been treated unfairly at work due to their disability.
To help address this, Carline works closely with both the intern, and the employer, to ensure both can benefit from the experience and understand the important role that students from West Lea can bring to the local community. Her open approach to disabilities helps support the individual be successful in work and minimise any concern or impact on the organisation, ensuring every young person can reach their full potential without barriers.
On winning her award, Carline said:
“Firstly, I would like to thank everyone around me! I have a huge circle of support, my family, my work colleagues at West Lea, BASE UK, my faith and all my friends. There is no I in team, together we all strengthen this journey for the success of our interns. I am so proud of the many layers of talents they all have and the key is for everyone else to see their talents and strengths – they are amazing! I am learning something new every day. I am honoured to be a part of such a brilliant team.”
Paul Quinn, CEO at West Lea School, said:
“Carline has truly broken-down barriers for our students. She encourages interns to be independent in every respect while supporting parental involvement, so they reach their full potential.
“Around 80 per cent of our interns gained employment this year, and this was largely down to Carline’s hard work and inspirational leadership, alongside the wider team.
“From all of us at West Lea, thank you for all you do Carline, and congratulations once again for this well-deserved recognition!”