How We Teach Our Interns – #ThinkDifferently

Date: 9th November 2020

As part of Learning Disability Work Week and the #ThinkDifferently initiative, our Job Coaches have been sharing the methods they use with our supported interns. These methods allow for interns to become more confident and have a positive approach to their work.

What is Taught?

Throughout the intern’s time with Forward2Employment, there is a major focus on developing their CVs. There are many outlets in which they can seek advice; including the Job Coaches and the Employment Engagement Officer. This CV advice consists of ensuring that the intern is familiar with their CV and that they have read it through before an interview. Many employers will use your CV in an interview to ask questions. If someone has helped to do your CV, make sure they have explained how they are improving it so you fully understand, but more importantly make sure your CV is about your strengths and not someone else’s. Also, the hobbies section within a CV is very important, as it tells the employer what you are like a person. Many people will apply for the same job and have the same experience/qualifications, and the use of the hobbies section can help make you stand out. You may not think playing netball at the weekend is an important attribute, but it is telling the employer you can work as part of a team.

Job Coaches also train interns on interview skills, which includes mock questions and the correct attitudes to have within an interview room. Interns have the opportunity to ask questions and even gain feedback following the mock interview. For interns that require that extra support, this method is important, as it will help improve their confidence and resilience.

Interns are also taught the social skills needed within the workplace, including professionalism, asking for help and how to make friends. Interns learn the difference between speaking to colleagues in a professional manner and how they can also have a laugh and a joke with them at break times and outside of work. This includes providing interns with an opportunity to attend company Christmas parties, alongside picnics and meals.

Away from the working world, interns also learn life skills, where they have the opportunity to learn how to clean, pay bills, do their shopping and even budget effectively. These basic skills allow interns to feel confident in going out and about in the real-world and managing their daily lives effectively.

Teaching Methods Used

Our Job Coaches also implement specific methods in their training and teaching to ensure that interns are reaching their full potential and can become fully independent.

Taking findings from the Training Systematic Instruction (TSI) Training, our Job Coaches use “The try another way” approach. This approach is used when teaching interns new practical roles in their work placement. It is easy to use negatives, such as no or you have done it the wrong way, however, by asking the intern to try another way gets them to think about what they need to do and will help them to become more confident in their learning leading to successful outcomes.

Another approach that our Job Coaches use is the Step-by-step instruction, “I show you, you copy”. When training new interns, our Job Coaches encourage them to learn the job step by step. If it is a practical role, they find it is more beneficial to show them how it is done, rather than constantly telling them how the job is done. The more the Job Coach talks about the job to the intern, the more likely the intern is going to lack focus. However, by showing the intern, they are being engaged in their learning, and once they are confident in doing the 1st job, they are then trained on the next steps.