Podcast Episode: Values into Action Scotland
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
MM - Michael McEwan
DR - David Ross
CH - Catherine Hurrell
Values into Action Scotland promotes rights and equality for people with learning disabilities and individuals on the autistic spectrum. In this episode Michael McEwan first talks to David Ross about how his work as a Quality Checker helps people get more choice and control in their lives. Then Catherine Hurrell talks about a project to develop modern apprenticeships for young people on the autistic spectrum or with learning disabilities.
MM Now first of all, David, how does Quality Checking work?
DR Well we tend to work through individuals and organisations, but they’ll contact us to see about getting a quality check done.
MM What kind of checks do you run?
DR Check on support that support organisations that support people - and help to promote their rights of those in control.
MM So why do you think this is important?
DR To get individuals voices heard and to encourage and promote individuals to know that they have got a right to choose who they want to support them, who they want to be friends with, and be able to control when to do things.
MM So what has the feedback been like with your quality checking?
DR In the 18 months that I’ve been doing the job, I have done around about 200 individual quality checks, and 10 of them have been some negative, that they didn’t know about their rights.
MM So where can people find out more about the quality checking?
DR We will be promoting ourselves through the website and then when we are out and about doing meetings, we will do presentations.
MM As well as doing this interview, you have also been on the big screen - you have also been on a film about quality checking. Tell us a bit about that and how you got involved in that?
DR Well the video we have done to help promote quality checking, to help individuals to get a better choice and control in their lives.
MM And how long have you been at Values Into Action?
DR I have been with Values Into Action for about 18 months.
MM Well thanks for your time David, and good luck.
MM Catherine Hurrell is a coordinator for Values Into Action Scotland and Catherine has been working on a new project and she’s going to tell us about it now. So first of all, the first question is, tell us more about this project.
CH Okay, so currently in Scotland there is around 23,000 modern apprenticeships available for young people. Only about 60 of those at the moment are for young people with additional support needs. We have been given some money from the Scottish G overnment to work over the next year to develop a modern apprenticeship programme that would be specifically for young people with autism … on the autistic spectrum and young people with learning disabilities. We are going to work in 4 areas of Scotland - we will be working in Edinburgh, South Lanarkshire, Inverclyde and East Ayrshire. As part of this programme we will be working very closely in partnership with the local authorities, the colleges and Skills Development Scotland in those areas. We will also be working with other people who have an interest in this programme and they will be partners as well. They may be providers of services to young people, or other people who work around modern apprenticeship programmes.
MM Now same as the Quality Checking team - you have made a kind of employment guide, a film about people with autism. Tell us a bit about that and how did you make it?
CH Yes, that was a really exciting thing for our team to do. We made the film in conjunction with an organisation in Inverclyde called ‘Reach for Autism’, and the film really is a guide for employers that helps them to think a bit differently about any accommodations that they might need to make, to support young people to be more successful at interview and also in the workplace.
A lot of employers think that when we talk about accommodation, it means that they have to knock walls down and rearrange everything, that it’s very costly, but a lot of accommodations can be done very, very simply, just by using/applying a bit of common sense to that and thinking about the people that you are going to be interviewing or working with. So that was a really exciting film for us, and all of the people that were involved in the film had a great time doing that.
We had a launch, a premiere if you like, in the Waterfront Cinema in Greenock in June, where we had an audience of around 100 people who came along to see the film. It was a really exciting evening for everybody involved in that, and there were some Oscars given out at the end of that film as well.
MM I was there that night, it was a good night and good weather outside as well in that …
CH Unusually for Greenock!
MM Yes, now what has the feedback been like about this film?
CH The feedback has been excellent - like the other film, we have made a real push to distribute it very widely. At the moment there has been over 360 views of the film, and the general feedback from the audience on the night was fantastic, and everybody thoroughly enjoyed it and said that they thought it was a really worthwhile thing to do.
MM So I take it you like this project that you are working on?
CH Yes, we are really excited about it - and it will be a good challenge for VIAS - we are never afraid of challenge. We always are happy to take on things that other people might feel are a bit too difficult or whatever. But we believe passionately that all of these young people out here deserve that opportunity. So people can view the film on YouTube and they can see it on our website, it is also on our Facebook page. It’s the footer on all of our email addresses, and it’s about to be distributed on the Disability Confident UK Government website, along with the Equality & Diversity website.
MM Just one quick question - when you are doing your training courses, because I know you go out and about - are you going to take it with you to let people see?
CH Yes, we will probably look at every opportunity of showing off this film to trainers, and particularly as the training around this project is aimed totally at and for employers in supporting them in how to employ young people on the autistic spectrum.
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