The Solihull Careers Hub – SEND Focus

Solihull Careers Hub logo

Solihull Careers Hub collaborate with local schools and colleges to help build careers education programmes through communities of practice, our network of enterprise advisers and by offering specialist advice, support, and resources.

We also work with schools and employers to provide information and engagement opportunities aiming to prepare young people to make their next best steps towards their desired futures.

We bring together 24 secondary schools and colleges across the Borough, including 8 Special Educational Needs providers and Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units.

Our SEND Focus

1 in 50 people in the UK have unique learning challenges and disabilities.(1) Only 5.1% of these individuals are in paid employment. (2) In Solihull, there are currently close to two thousand young people with SEND - 70% of which are in mainstream schools. (3)

A key focus for our hub is to change the trajectory of outcomes for young people with SEND, so they can confidently offer their talents in pursuit of their highest aspirations, within a mainstream economy that values and enables their contribution. We are working collaboratively with key stakeholders and partners in the community to implement strategies that will impact the futures of young people with SEND in meaningful ways. This includes actively supporting employers to learn about SEND in the workplace and equipping them to recruit and support these young people as equal members of their workforce.

Ways you can get involved

Parents and carers are a primary influence when it comes to supporting young people in making their next best steps towards their desired futures. Your support and involvement are invaluable and desired. Please endeavour to get involved in any of the following ways.


  • During Parents evenings, ask teachers how they link subjects to careers. Ask about your young learners’ skills and talents and the diverse opportunities these could link to.
  • Respond to invitations from the schools’ Careers Leader and your Careers Hub to participate in careers activities.
  • If you don’t know much about your schools’ careers programme, have a look on the schools’ website.
  • Complete any feedback requested. A high-quality careers programme takes time to nurture and develop. We need your input to make improvements.
  • Become a volunteer!
  • Get your employer involved. If they’re keen, introduce them to the hub and your school/college to find out ways they can get involved. How do I do this? Email

Follow us on twitter or contact the Careers Leader at the school to learn more.

The Gatsby Benchmarks Supporting SEND Provision in Schools

The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework for good career guidance created by Sir John Holman to support schools and colleges. The following 8 Gatsby Benchmarks outline how schools and colleges provide good career guidance to young learners with SEND.

The core purpose of schooling is to prepare young people for their futures. School and college careers teams should ensure they embed a careers programme that caters to the unique needs of all young people with SEND.

The careers programme should be developed by a designated careers leader and published on the school website. It should be accessible to staff, students, parents, and employers.

All students and parents should have access to excellent quality labour market information that highlights local opportunities, informs future aspirations and further study options.

Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each young person. A school’s careers programme should embed equality, equity, and diversity considerations to ensure all young people are able to make informed decisions and equipped to take their next best step. The programme should actively challenge stereotypes, seek to raise the aspirations of each learner and work with external partners to support the achievement of this benchmark e.g., STEM champions, inspirational individuals with SEND.

A rich careers curriculum is one that embeds careers knowledge into all subject areas so that young people develop an awareness of the role each school subject could play in their future. Employers are involved and support the development of the curriculum.

The involvement and learner engagement with employers in all sectors is a cornerstone of the careers programme.

  • Careers leaders should seek to create meaningful encounters for students with SEND by
    • Actively supporting employers to learn about SEND in the workplace
    • Sharing success stories of employees with SEND from a diverse range of professions

Experience of workplaces is a crucial part of careers education and even more so for young learners with SEND. It has been shown to reduce fears, pull down psychological barriers, challenge stereotypes, raise aspirations and inspire learners towards their next best step.

  • A workplace experience away from the day-to-day learning environment is invaluable. The regularity of these experiences - as young as possible - are important for young learners with SEND.
  • It is also an essential experience for employers in understanding the needs of SEND in the workplace and in appreciating the exceptional value they can contribute to businesses and the wider economy.

By the end of their studies, young people and their parents/carers should have had meaningful encounters with a range of training providers in formats that promote optimal engagement and understanding.

  • This will help young learners to link their aspirations to the best pathways available and desirable for them.
  • Raise aspirations as to how far they can go.
  • Broaden their awareness of how their talents, skills and learning link to a variety of professions.

By the end of their studies, young learners with SEND should have had numerous guidance interviews with a qualified careers advisor, and at the barest minimum – 2 encounters.

  • These 1-1 encounters support self-awareness and raise aspirations. They also support SEND learners to make new choices as their abilities evolve.
  • Schools should provide additional training for careers advisors to work with young people with SEND so that learners are being supported in optimal ways.
  • Schools should provide opportunities for parents/carers to engage with their learners’ careers advisors so they can be involved in the journey.