Eliph, a young woman with disabilities, has been a young people’s intern with Amaze since 2018. Now, as she moves on to study 3D Design and Craft at university, she tells us about her experience and what the internship has meant for her.
“A lot of my friends don’t have SEND, so it was hard for me growing up because it felt like everyone was getting regular jobs apart from me. Getting the Amaze internship was a really big deal because it was my first time being trusted to have a job.”
Eliph started out volunteering as a peer supporter for Amazing Futures – we had helped her with her DLA claim when she was a child so she wanted to give something back – and from there she applied and got the role of Young People’s Peer Support Intern, working with Sue Winter on our peer support activity groups in Brighton. When she started going to college to study art, she reduced her hours and moved to the Young People’s Supported Employment Internship, helping to develop our Looking Forward project and attending the SEND Young People’s Employability Steering Group.
“I’ve gotten a lot out of it – all the general job stuff, like learning to work as a team. And I’ve got a lot more confident and more able to express myself; I have more confidence in what I’m saying, because I feel a lot more listened to, and people are actually interested in what I’m saying and what my experiences are.
“And I learned that it’s not impossible to have a job, because before I thought it really was impossible.
“I’m really proud of having been able to talk to funders and the Big Lottery Fund people, and being able to talk to more professionals about my experiences. I thought it was very hard to begin with, but now it’s a lot easier and I feel more heard and like I meant something a bit – I actually helped change things for the better for people.
“I think because of my being a young person with SEND and disabilities, I know a lot about what’s going on in the city for people with SEND. I also have a lot of my own experiences I’m willing to share and draw on to help people that don‘t have SEND understand a bit more about what it’s like, and what difficulties we encounter.
“Where I am now is so different from where I was when I first got involved with Amaze. When I started with Amazing Futures I was very low, I didn’t really have much hope for the future and I didn’t really have much of a plan. I think working has given me a lot more stability and now I’m a lot more motivated to move forward with my life. I’m living independently in supported accommodation, I’m going to university, and before I didn’t even have decent A Levels, and I’m actually confident that I’m going to study something I want to do.
“I’m still going to keep volunteering at Amazing Futures when I can. At the beginning I didn’t feel confident to facilitate groups and now I’ve gotten paid work doing things at the museum facilitating art groups. So it’s actually quite different now. I’m being paid to do things that I enjoy, and I feel like there’s a lot more hope for the future. And I know it’s going to be difficult, the future, and there’s going to be challenges but I feel a lot more prepared. ‘Cause when I look back to how I was, it just seems impossible that I’m now where I am. So I kind of know that the future’s going to be okay. If that makes sense?”
Eliph has been living independently for two months away from her parents and is going to university to study 3D Design and Craft. In the future she’d like to work in youth work and teaching art, and facilitating groups for people with SEND. She’d like to run arts awards for people with SEND to help them get qualifications in art.
Interested in becoming a young people’s intern with Amaze? Learn more about our paid internships.