Supported internship

An overwhelming majority of young people with special educational needs are capable of sustained paid employment with the right preparation and support’

Supported internships in actionA supported internship is a structured study programme aimed at young people aged 16 to 24 with a learning disability and an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), who want to move into paid employment and need extra support to do so.

The programme, based primarily at an employer’s premises, is intended to enable young people to achieve sustainable, paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work through learning in the workplace.

The internship lasts for a year and includes work placements of at least six months. The young person will follow a personalised study programme, which will include the opportunity to study for job-relevant qualifications and English and maths at an appropriate level.

The young person and the employer will be supported throughout the placement by an employment training adviser, who will train the young person in the specific job role identified using systematic instruction (a step-by-step method specifically designed to help young people with learning disabilities learn new tasks).

The staff and young people will also be supported by tutors who will deliver the vocational learning programme and relevant qualifications. They will be accessible on site for the duration of the programme, if support is required.

Aims and objectives

Supported internships prepare young people with learning disabilities for paid employment by:

  • Supporting them to develop the skills valued by employers
  • Enabling them to demonstrate their value in the workplace
  • Developing confidence in their own abilities to perform successfully at work.

The ideal outcome from a supported internship will be the offer of a paid job from an employer, possibly the employer who has hosted the internship. Other outcomes include:

  • Building up experience for a CV, demonstrating that the young person has the skills and willingness to work
  • Changing the perception of employers about employing people with learning disabilities
  • Changing the perception of the young person’s family that they can work
  • Improving skills in English and maths that enable the young person to be better prepared for work, including handling money, interacting with the public and practising interview skills
  • Becoming independent travellers.

Course outline

Classroom-based learning, focusing on work preparation and vocational skills in the work place.

  • Health and safety in the workplace
  • Timekeeping and attendance
  • Communication skills
  • Functional skills
  • Behaviours at work.

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