Change Now

Change Now supports young people aged 11-25 with special educational needs and disabilities.

With our support, young people will enhance their experience and knowledge of the workplace, build confidence and be able to make more informed choices about their future.

The programme is currently running in Greater Manchester, the North East, Gloucestershire and West of England.

How does the programme work?

We work closely with schools and colleges to identify students who will benefit from taking part in Change Now. We will meet with each young person to discuss their needs and ambitions, helping us to match them with a suitable work placement and ensure they have a positive and meaningful experience.

In order to provide the most suitable opportunities, we are able to offer one day workplace visits or placements from between two and ten days long.

All employers we work with will have received bespoke training from ourselves and therefore be able to provide the young person with appropriate support during their placement.

We can also work with young people (16-25) to arrange nine month supported internships where appropriate.

What kind of support do we provide?

We provide support and advice every step of the way, including:

  • Development days – an opportunity to develop skills and confidence, meet others taking part and chat about any concerns.
  • Visits to the workplace in advance of the placement, including a tour of the building and introduction to colleagues.
  • A mentor to provide support and advice throughout the placement.
  • Follow up support and advice after the placement, including help with CVs and future career choices.
  • Engaging with parents to make sure that students can get the most out of the opportunity.
  • The opportunity to take part in Leonard Cheshire’s Can-Do programme – supporting young disabled people to build their skills and confidence while working on projects that benefit the local community.
  • Teacher Training for school staff on how to become Early Career Coaches specifically for young people with SEND. This is delivered in partnership with Talentino! and will support schools to achieve improved outcomes for their young people.

Why is Change Now important?

There’s a great deal of evidence to show that meaningful work experience is an effective way to support young disabled people to develop their careers:

  • Increased exposure to employers and the workplace is associated with a decreased likelihood of NEET (not in education, employment or training) status.
  • First-hand experiences of the workplace are one of the eight Gatsby benchmarks of high-quality careers education.
  • Work experience has been identified as a priority for preparing for adulthood as part of the 2015 SEND reforms.
  • 66% of employers believe that work experience is a critical or significant factor when they are looking to recruit young people.

How can I find out more?

If you are an education provider or employer interested in taking part in the Change Now programme, we’d love to hear from you.

Please email

Email us

Young people in wheelchairs at a group event