There are well over a million people in the UK with a learning disability of which 500,000 are children and young people. These individuals are often thought of as being excluded from various aspects of society such as training and employment due to the needs they have and so specific information about the options available to them is limited.
At ZootAlore! Community Foundation CIC we have been researching the problem of easily accessible information about future options for Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities and have developed a new and exciting approach which we believe will allow for greater opportunities to be available and accessible.
MyLife is a new web based platform which is designed to specifically support the wide range of needs experienced by LLDD and give easy access to specific Careers IAG, potential training placements and Independent living information.
Key features of MyLife include the ability for individuals to create personal profiles, link directly to schools, colleges and training providers, as well as provide the necessary IAG to make informed decisions through independent or supported access. In addition, support for young people and adults' independent living is included and gives access to information and support organisations as well as potentially linking them to supported living placements within their locality. It will also track and record each learner.
This innovative platform has been created in the belief that no matter what barriers there may be, all young people need to have a structured way to plan their future, live fulfilled lives and achieve their individual potential.
MyLife is a web platform which hosts an umbrella of features specially tailored to support and improve the lives of Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDDs). A summary of these features can be found below. If you require more information about MyLife or have any questions, don't hesistate to get in touch.
This is the home page which young people will see when they log in. It shows clearly all the areas which are available to view and edit including; the personal profile, employment/training opportunities, specific CEIAG (careers education, information, advice and guidance) and links to independent living aspects such as assisted living placements and health care.
My Profile is a platform for recording information about a variety of aspects of a young person's life and gives a clear system of recording the vital information which training/employment placements, support groups, health care professionals may need to know about in order to provide the best options to the individuals completing them.
It contains clear areas which could also be beneficial to the processes of person centred planning and transition as well as giving the young person a clear way of discovering and recording key information about themselves.
Whilst text based information is vital to the process of creating a profile, mylife also allows evidence and supporting information to be included about individuals in the form of photographs and video.
This gives a greater sense of ownership to the individual using the system, and benefits those whose needs mean that text is of little or no meaning and will be completed by the parent/carer/support worker who is with them at the time.
My Timetable is a very valuable feature of the mylife platform as it allows the young person to easily see where they are going and what they are doing with regards to any aspect of day-to-day life as well as when they need to attend events such as meetings or other important appointments. This gives security in the knowledge of what is happening and will be happening in the short and long term future as well as a reference point to refer to in order to reduce anxiety about forgetting or missing events.
The future of this section will see functions allowing for reminder emails/text messages to be sent.
Each Training Provider/Employer will post a profile which gives specific information about who they are, what they do, where they are based and how to find them. This will be backed up with a short video about them as well as photographs which again add to the overall ease of understanding for young people with specific difficulties. From here the interest is first raised for the young person about the company and whether or not it would be somewhere they may be suited to applying to go to. It could also be used as an information gathering tool about the world of work.
Training providers/employers profiled will each have a list of the current vacancies/placements which they have to offer. It will give a full breakdown of the role and allow the young person to be supported to find the right option and then apply directly through by clicking to send their details. From here the first link with the company is made and further arrangements can then be made through the feedback area either offering a meeting or start date or to inform the individual that they are not right for the placement but may want to consider something alternative.
Having the right level of CEIAG is crucial in order to inform young people with learning difficulties and disabilities of the options which are not only open to them, but are also the most appropriate. Through the Working World section of mylife, this information is present and kept up to date and relevant. It allows all ages to access the information which can guide and inform their choices for the future and gives a greater understanding of the vast range of opportunities which are out there. It also allows for targets to be set and attainment/experience to be applied to job/training roles prior to applications being made.
The My Account area allows each individual young person to take control of the information which they want to display within the mylife system with the appreciation that this may take place with the support of others. Amongst may other exciting applications it includes:
- Editing profile information for applying to training and employment placements
- Keeping records of any applications making tracking easier
- Creating CV's/Cover Letters and storing them for future use
This area allows providers of training placements/employment to create and edit profiles about their organisation and also to post vacancies which they have to offer. The information required for this needs to be easily accessible and understandable and to assist in this process the ability to upload video and photos is available throughout.
This area allows MyLife administrators to manage all aspects of their MyLife platform, including but not exclusive to viewing statistics, managing accumulated data, and configuring core MyLife program settings.