Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. The core aim of a supported internship study programme is a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an expert job coach.
Supported interns are enrolled and supported by a learning provider, for example, a school or college, but spend most of their learning time - typically around 70% - in a workplace.
The internships provide the opportunity for young people to achieve sustained, paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.
Supported interns are in full-time education and their supported internship work placements are part of their course. There is no legal requirement or expectation that the supported intern will be paid. Supported internships are exempt from the National Minimum Wage regulation.
Supported internships last for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year.
The supported internship should contribute to the long-term career goals of the young person and match their capabilities. Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by the school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths at an appropriate level.
Every young person is supported in the work placement by a trained job coach, put in place by their education provider. The job coach provides in-work support that tapers off, if appropriate, as the supported intern becomes familiar with their role. Job coaches also work with employers, increasing their confidence in employing individuals with additional needs and helping them to create and support a diverse workforce.
Aims of a supported internship
The aim of supported internships is to support young people with EHC plans to gain 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 measure of success of a supported internship is a transition to sustained and paid employment.
Supported Internships With Bedford Borough Council
In September 2022 Bedford Borough offered its first Supported Internships to 11 young people
DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year transition to work programme based at Bedford Borough Council in partnership with Bedford College and Mencap. The programme is open to Young People aged 17-24, who live in Bedford Borough and have an Education, Health and Care Plan.
For more information on Supported Internships refer to the easy read guide on the right hand side of the page