Supported Internships, Work Experience and Employment (SEND)
For all young people, finishing compulsory schooling can be a time of change and uncertainty. The transition out of school can be even harder for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities. However, it can also be an exciting time, with a variety of pathways available.
Careers education and aspiration is embedded in the curriculum from Year 7 in mainstream and special schools. The government’s Careers Strategy states that each student should have at least one experience of work before they turn 16. This could be work experience, a workplace visit or work shadowing.
At the Year 9 Transition Review meeting, discussion will begin as to what they might like to do as a career. This discussion is ongoing up to year 13 or 14.
Every school has a named careers leader who will help students to find appropriate work-related learning opportunities based on their likes and dislikes. The contact details of the careers leader must be published on the schools’ website.
Adviza provide one-to-one careers guidance for all young people with an EHCP in mainstream and all students in a special school. This is funded by the Local Authority.
Supported Internships provide opportunities for young people special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to gain skills and work experience for employment and adulthood. Supported Internships are usually for those with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) who want to move into employment but need extra support. The internship placement will be named in their EHCP. If the young person is still at school, the school’s careers leader will liaise with suitable employers to arrange a supported internship.
Here are some supported internships and employment programmes in Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire Adult Learning
This structured study programme is in partnership with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Stony Dean School, Buckinghamshire Council and Adviza. The internship will enable young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need to work. They are now recruiting for 10 enthusiastic young people who are focused and work ready for September 2020.
Interns will complete a BTEC Level 1 Work Skills programme at Stoke Mandeville Hospital or DeVere Latimer Estate. They will also have the opportunity to study Maths and English functional skills at an appropriate level with the support of a tutor and Job Coach. Employment is the key aim of the programme, following on from the Supported Internship the interns will be supported in their first year of work by a Job Coach from “Building Futures” at Adviza.
Buckinghamshire College Group
Buckinghamshire College Group offers a wide range of high-quality supported learning opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. These help to develop independence and skills, and provide a chance to prepare for the next step in life. The Aylesbury Campus provides a Supported Internship Study Programme designed to help young people with special educational needs to prepare for adulthood and to move forward into employment. Students must be in receipt of Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Employ by Nclude
The Employ Programme by Nclude has connections with several employers to offer paid, supported work to those who want it. Members can undertake work experience placements, such as horticultural work at the Green Dragon Eco Farm, or retail work at Sainsbury’s. Members learn the skills required for working life and build the foundations for finding paid work in the future. Nclude also offers The Equip programme which supports individuals through all stages of education and combines this with community skills, development and work experience to enable the member to achieve their full potential.
Learning for Life are full-time courses at Aylesbury College and Amersham and Wycombe College. They help young adults with learning difficulties develop the skills to live and work more independently.
About the Programme
These are full-time courses and are designed for people aged 16 plus with learning difficulties who are working at a lower level (typically P7 to EL 1) and require a very supportive learning environment. The courses run for:
5 days a week in year 1
4 days a week in year 2
3 days a week in year 3
Other agencies as appropriate picking up the non-college days in years 2 and 3). The programme covers a range of areas, for example, communications, independent living and personal skills, therapeutic sessions, drama, dance and music, work preparation and confidence building. Young people have the opportunity to experience a range of vocational options in a supportive environment.
For those young people on this programme, all are offered one or more taster days where they are able to join classes in their chosen area or a range of areas if they are undecided. Once decided a full transition timetable from May until July is agreed with the school, so the young person gets to know the college, their new tutors and support staff and other students.
Class size is usually 6 to 8 for Life Skills, whilst Entry 2 and above usually have 8 to 12 learners. Some learners may have support staff working with them in the classroom.
Young people can progress on to further study within the Foundation/ Pathway/ Life Skills Centre or into other vocational departments in the college. In addition to their accredited qualification programme, young people can join in the college enrichment programme, which includes the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, social enterprises and charity fundraising. Young people also take an active role in many of the college activities.
Non accredited programmes with measured progression are also available. All programmes are measured and reported on a termly basis. Young people are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.
Therapeutic support is available as part of the educational package, this includes rebound, music and animal therapy.
Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are available in both colleges if identified as a requirement on the young person’s EHCP.
Medical/Health support is available via the young person’s established health support. It will be expected that these professionals will work in partnership with the college and subcontracting staff.
Wannabe Bucks lists current work experience and apprenticeship opportunities in Buckinghamshire.
Toolshed Bucks offers construction skills training for young people with a SEND or who are NEET aged 16 to 24. Referrals can come via the LA.
Lindengate offers social and therapeutic horticulture, particularly for people with mental health issues and Autism. The tailored gardening approach offers work experience and helps to build confidence for returning to the workplace. You can self-refer or be referred by your GP.
Further Education to prepare for the world of work
Buckinghamshire College Group runs a Supported Internship Programme which aims to prepare post-18 young people with a SEND for the world of work.
Berkshire College of Agriculture offers Foundation Studies for students who have a learning difficulty or require extra support to access education, working from Entry Level 1 to Level 1.
Buckinghamshire Adult Learning offers Supported Internships to young adults with learning disabilities. The partnership which was set up in 2018, aims to give young people aged 18 to 24 years who have an Education Health and Care Plan, the opportunity to gain sustainable employment.
Support for Schools Programme is run by Jobcentre Plus helps schools deliver their statutory duty to provide independent and impartial careers advice to young people aged 12 to 18 who have a SEND, are NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) are otherwise disadvantaged. Speak to your school’s career’s leader to find out more.
Some local services and organisations add their opportunities to this website. This includes work experience, apprenticeships, supported internships and training courses.
When young people with Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from Buckinghamshire were asked about the barriers they face getting a job, a key challenge they said was the interview process. For many SEND young people interviews create anxiety and stress and do not give them the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and skills.
Work experience placements can allow SEND young people to show their ability by practically doing the work. It can be the start of an employment journey that benefits both the employer and employee. Buckinghamshire SEND young people would like a greater number and range of placements available to them.
We have worked with four very different employers to create case study films of work experience opportunities. These case studies show the benefits of work experience opportunities for both employer and employee. We hope this inspires more employers to offer work experience to SEND young people and helps young people to understand more about what to expect from a placement. These films have been endorsed by the Buckinghamshire Workability Forum.
Employer looking to offer a work experience placement?
If you would like to offer a work experience placement, you can share opportunities on OppsInBucks, a website set up for young people to connect with employers and for employers to promote their placements. Here are a couple of useful guides too:
Guide by Need2Know covering success stories from companies that have successfully created opportunities for people with learning difficulties or disabilities.
A guide on what a job coach does and helpful things an employer can do to support staff.
Merson’s case study at Sainsbury's | Video
A case study of Merson who is currently doing a work placement at High Wycombe Sainsbury’s with support from Talkback. Sainsbury’s Manager Elliot shares the benefits of work experience placements for them as an employer and also for the young people.
Dan, Matt and Thomas' case study at Latimer House | Video
Case studies of Dan, Matt and Thomas who are all close to completing their supported internship at Latimer House Hotel. Christie Lavery, Head of Supported Employment at Stony Dean School explains how the programme is run and Antonio Campanile, General Manager, shares the positive impact the supported internship has brought to the hotel.
Nathan’s cast study at Ercol
A case study of Nathan who has been at Ercol for four years. He started at Ercol doing work experience and is now a paid Table Maker for the company. Nathan shares his experience of mentoring an apprentice. Ercol Operation Director Ian Peers shares the benefits of their work experience placements. A special thanks to Pebble Brook School and Ercol Furniture.
Adam and Joe’s case study at The Lion
A case study of Adam and Joe who started working at The Lion in Waddesdon as work experience, and are now both paid chefs at the pub. Matthew, Head Chef and Manager of the Lion shares how Adam and Joe have developed and the qualities they bring to the workplace.
In the UK, almost half of those who have a disability are able to work but this figure could be higher with the right support.
If you are living with a disability, you should not fear that this will impact or limit your job prospectus or chances of finding work. There are many support services, training and guidance in existence to help you get into employment.
There are Government-backed schemes that are designed to help, whilst also tackling stereotypes about those living with a disability to ensure everyone has a fair chance of getting employed.
If you are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it harder for you to do your job then the first thing to do is to talk to your employer or potential employer to see if they can make some adjustments. These are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’. These could include changing your working hours or providing equipment to help you do your job.
If you have tried this and help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work. Access to Work is a grant that can pay for:
- special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
- help getting to and from work
These grants are available to those 16 and over and who have a paid job, or are about to start or return to one. This could include self-employment, an apprenticeship, a work trial or work experience or an internship. Certain benefits may affect whether you can get an Access to Work grant.
Job Centre Plus has Disability Employment Advisers to advise and create a plan of action to help you meet your employment goals.
Macintyre provide specialist outreach support to young people either in college or on work experience placements. Access to Macintyre’s services will be included on the EHCP or referrals are via the LA.
Back 2 Base help people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and disabilities find paid employment. They believe that with the right support everyone can have a paid job.
The aim of Nclude's Supported Employment is to work with individuals to support them into successful paid employment of their choice. We want people with a learning disability and/or autism to feel valued and respected in the workplace and to have the same opportunities as everyone else.
If you're ill or disabled, you may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from the government, which offers you:
- financial support if you're unable to work
- personalised help so that you can work if you're able to
You can apply for ESA if you're employed, self-employed or unemployed. You might be transferred to ESA if you've been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.
How much ESA you get depends on:
- your circumstances, such as your income
- the type of ESA you qualify for
- where you are in the assessment process
Find out more from GOV.UK about how much ESA you can get.
Universal Credit provides a new single system of means-tested support for working-age people who are in or out of work. Support for housing costs, children, childcare costs, carers, claimants with health conditions and disabilities are integrated in the new benefit. This means that more support will be targeted at people with more severe disabilities.
This will be achieved through two elements: the Limited Capability for Work element and, for more severely disabled claimants, the Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity element. Entitlement to these elements is based on the outcome of a Work Capability Assessment, aligning with existing arrangements for ESA.
- The Limited Capability for Work (LCW) Element is £124.86 per month, which is the same level of support provided for disabled adults in the Work-Related Activity Component of ESA).
- The Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity Element (LCWRA), the higher rate of additional support for severely disabled adults, is £311.86 per month. (This is significantly more than the support currently provided by the Support Component of ESA).
The LCWRA element is at a higher rate than the ESA equivalent to recognise the additional needs of severely disabled claimants.
Additionally, disabled people will receive larger work allowances for earned income. The government hopes this will help to encourage people currently out of work to take their first steps into employment, by increasing the incentives to do even a small amount of work.
This handy guide by preparingforadulthood.org.uk provides information about options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment.
Employ My Ability is based at The Walled Garden, Moreton: Our unique environment hosts hospitality, horticultural and retail facilities that help students with learning disabilities and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) develop vital skills, expertise and confidence. We offer strong vocational qualifications alongside real, hands-on work experience which enables our students to leave us with a clear pathway into employment within the local community.
In addition to offering vocational courses, Employ My Ability is dedicated to offering the therapy necessary to help our students develop the confidence to enter the working world.
Each student is unique, so we offer a variety of different therapies to suit every student’s requirements.