New Directions College secures funding to deliver work opportunities for over 250 adults with special educational needs and disabilities

  • New Directions College has secured a share of a £130k grant to develop and offer learning and skills opportunities for adults with special educational needs
  • The college will also partner with Ways into Work to provide work opportunities at a new supported employment café
  • Learning opportunities for over 250 people over the next five years

READING Borough Council’s Adult and Community Learning service, New Directions College has been awarded a grant to deliver a range of specialist learning and skills pathways to employment for adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

£130,000 of funding from the Thames Valley LEP Local Growth Fund will be split between New Directions College and local organisation, Ways into Work. The college will benefit from £60,000 to improve their digital skills suite at their site on Northumberland Avenue, increasing participants’ digital skills for work, which will form an essential part of the skills for employment pathways that are being developed.

Additionally, New Directions College will partner with Ways into Work, whose share of the Local Growth funding will contribute toward the opening of a new Supported Employment Café project in Chatham Place, Reading, offering learners work experience and supported employment opportunities

It is expected the projects will deliver learning opportunities for more than 250 people in total over the next five years, including 20 supported internships, and 15 paid work opportunities in the café.

Cllr Jason Brock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said:

“This is wonderful news for Reading. We’re extremely thankful to the Thames Valley Local Growth Fund for this funding opportunity to pilot a project to provide adults with special educational needs and disabilities with practical skills and learning experiences, as well as providing a new and exciting town centre destination for our residents.

“This Council’s ethos is to provide access and opportunities for people from our communities who, for whatever reason, do not always have the same life chances as the rest of us – whether that is due to special educational needs, disabilities or because of where they live. This initiative sits in that context of the council working to ensure everybody can share in Reading’s success.”

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Education, said:

“I am delighted New Directions are able to build on their tremendous efforts in providing valuable learning and skills opportunities for adults in Reading with SEND to help them into sustained future employment.”

Andrea Wood, Head of Adult Learning and Skills for Reading Borough Council and Principal of New Directions College, said:

We are really pleased to be working with Ways Into Work to develop more learning pathways for adults with SEND. The funding from the Thames Valley LEP will make a real difference and will be used to purchase new digital kit and equipment for skills programmes and will fund the creation of a fabulous Café which will offer job opportunities“. Skills for Supported Employment – New Directions College (

Please follow this link to support Ways Into Work crowd funder Supported Employment Services, South East England – Ways into Work