Panel debates

Panel debates

We have two panel discussions, offering delegates the opportunity to explore key issues for providers and jobseekers. The panels will offer a Question Time format where delegates can ask questions and offer opinion.


Transitions from education through internships and apprenticeships             

(8 November, 2pm)

  • Chair: (to be confirmed)
  • Helena Jennings (Skillnet Group)
  • Caron Keys (Director of Quality and Business Development, Dynamic Training UK)
  • Lela Kogbara (DfE Advisor on Inclusive Apprenticeships)
  • Kathy Melling (Melling Training & Consultancy)
  • Tracey Newell (Senior Employment Officer, Enable)

The SEND reforms have been underway for some time now and supported internships and inclusive apprenticeships are seen as a key tool in supporting successful transitions from education to employment. The session will examine how the reforms can be implemented to ensure the best employment outcomes for young people.

  • How do we get the best outcomes from supported internships and what outcomes should we expect to see?
  • How will training providers support people with EHC plans and how will end-point assessment work on the new apprenticeships?
  • What support is there for people who don’t have EHC Plans?
  • How do supported internships and apprenticeships relate to each other now?


Where next for Supported Employment and IPS?                           

(9 November, 2.40pm)

  • Chair:  Huw Davies (BASE)
  • Dr Steve Beyer (School of Medicine, Cardiff University)
  • Laura Davis (Chair, BASE and Managing Director, Ways into Work)
  • Gemma Hope (Head of Policy and Communication, Shaw Trust)
  • Jan Hutchinson (Director of Programmes and Performance, Centre for Mental Health)
  • Hugh Pullinger (Head of Disability and Work Opportunities, Department for Work and Pensions)

The NHS is to double access to IPS provision and DWP is testing the funding of outcomes from locally commissioned Supported Employment services. With the Work and Health Programme and Fair Start Scotland starting imminently, what is the future for specialist approaches across the country?

  • What are the implications of UNCRPD Article 28 and the subsequent reports for people with substantial support needs?
  • How do we best procure and fund future provision?
  • What should the relationship be between central government and local commissioners?
  • How do we raise the profile of what we do so that commissioners are better informed?
  • What should future provision look like to employers and jobseekers?
  • How do we assure the quality of provision?



Dr Steve Beyer 

School of Medicine, Cardiff University

Steve has published widely for many years on supported employment and transition from school for people with learning disabilities. He has carried out national studies for UK Government Departments on the job coach model and the cost:benefit analyses of supported employment.

He has contributed to recent Welsh Government Research on Autism Spectrum Conditions and employment in Wales and literature reviews on the business case for employers for employing people with a learning disability for Mencap and on the economic impact of inclusion of disabled people in the labour market. He has completed a number of projects on what works in transition from school and college to employment including in Wales the Real Opportunities Project and currently the Engage to Change Project. He has also worked on a number of EU funded R&D collaborations in the area of transition, employment and disability.


Laura Davis

Managing Director, Ways into Work

Laura is the Managing Director of Ways into Work CIC and Chair of BASE. Over the years Laura’s commitment and passion for Supported Employment has transformed Ways into Work from a small local authority service in Windsor & Maidenhead to an independent social enterprise delivering multiple contracts for various client groups across Berkshire and Hampshire. Under Laura’s dynamic leadership Ways into Work have won several awards, and are particularly recognised for their innovative work in developing Supported Employment for young people in transition.


Gemma Hope

Head of Policy and Communications, Shaw Trust

Gemma is the Head of Policy, Research and Communication at Shaw Trust. She has eleven years’ experience working in the employment services sector, and leads Shaw Trust’s policy work in this area. This includes writing Shaw Trust’s influential Making Work a Real Choice reports into the future of disability employment support, as well as a recent evaluation of Shaw Trust’s Community Hubs pilot. Gemma was also Vice Chair of ERSA’s disability and health employment forum.


Jan Hutchinson 

Director of Programmes and Performance, Centre for Mental Health

Jan is Director of Programmes and Performance at Centre for Mental Health, leading the Centre's Employment Programme and managing research staff. She previously ran a large Individual Placement and Support service in Essex and currently advises government departments on IPS.

Jan is leading the Centre for Mental Health's work in supporting the NHS ambition to double access to Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services in England.


Helena Jennings

Skillnet Group

I have worked in Health and Social care over the last 19 years in various fields before ending up at Skillnet Group 3.5 years ago, where we worked in partnership with the Job Centre+ supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism in our Head Held High supported employment programme. We have since made the logical and exciting leap into Supported Internships and the world of Education. We delivered a pilot for 4 learners last year during which time we became a Specialist Post-16 Institution and we are now supporting 14 students and have branched out into Medway as well as Kent. 


Caron Keys

Director of Quality and Business Development, Dynamic Training UK

Caron has worked in the Further Education sector for over 20 years. A qualified External and Internal Verifier and Registered Nurse, Caron joined Dynamic Training UK Ltd as Director of Quality in 2010.

In 2010/11 Caron was one of the authors working for Pearson on the new Apprentice Activity Text for Health and Social Care level 2. She has worked for many awarding organisations adding to the experience across the sector.          

Caron has visited Bangladesh on the Health and Social Care project and undertook some work in Poland with The British Council to advise on Post Registration Nurse Education whilst working as a Director of Education at Thames Valley University.



Lela Kogbara

NHS England / Dfe Advisor on inclusive apprenticeships

Most of Lela’s professional and private life has involved tackling inequality in some form or other.  Up until September 2016 she was Assistant Chief Executive at Islington Council, which is where she became driven to address the injustices faced by disabled people in the labour market.  She currently works part time for NHS England as Director of the Learning Disability Employment Programme and part time as an adviser supporting the Department for Education to improve access to apprenticeships for people who are disabled.

Lela was an active member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and is still on the board of its successor organisation, Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).  She is also a board member for Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Global Generation and Health and Employment Partnerships.


Kathy Melling

Melling Training & Consultancy

Kathy has worked in the supported employment sector since the late 1970s in both the USA and UK, and was very lucky to have been trained by Marc Gold. She has been involved with BASE since its inception. She now works as a consultant and trainer after a longer career in public services.  Current work includes leading on employment for the Preparing for Adulthood programme, consultancy around supported internships and employment pathways for young people with SEND, as well as accredited and unaccredited training in supported employment.


Tracey Newell

Senior Employment Officer, Enable

Tracey has been involved in work-based learning for 15 years, covering YTS, YT, Modern apprenticeships, National Traineeships, New Deal. She managed the Skills Development Unit at Richmond Upon Thames College for 10 years. She then worked as a 14-19 Project Worker for Shropshire Council,  working with schools, colleges and training providers to encourage vocational learning as a valued option for young people and to promote joint working and sharing of good practice.

Tracey joined Enable in 2006 and has worked on the Work Choice team, mental health employment team, and learning disability employment team. She now manages the transition team which covers supported internships and travel training. Enable are a pacesetter site for promoting inclusive apprenticeships and Tracey is also doing development work for Shropshire Council SEND team to promote supported internships to young people, parents and carers and schools. 


Hugh Pullinger

Head of Disability and Work Opportunities, Department for Work and Pensions

Hugh is Head of Disability and Work Opportunities Division at the Department for Work and Pensions. He is responsible for policy on specialist disability employment programmes (Work Choice, Access to Work, Specialist Employability Support) and the Disability Confident Campaign.

Hugh was previously Head of the Office for Disability Issues and has worked on social policy and strategy development in a range of Government Departments including DWP, the Treasury, the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and the Home Office.