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Supported Employment, Apprenticeships and Internships

An image displaying work experience which includes two young people learning how to cook, and two young people learning about hairdressing.

Supported Employment Pathways

All young people should have a pathway from as early as Year 9 to assist them with their career aspirations. A Supported Employment Pathway is an inclusive route for learners with additional needs. They offer support during transition onto vocational pathways or into meaningful paid work.

Supported employment programmes will enable individuals to develop the transferable skills and experiences they need for sustainable employment or appropriate pathways. For example, through supported internships, volunteering and independent living.

Programmes aim to develop independence, vocational and academic skills. They also aim to provide on-site work experience opportunities.  You can find out more on the Careers East Sussex website:

The British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) website provides further information about supported employment:

Supported Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a paid job which enables you to learn while you earn. You will normally spend about 4 days as an apprentice and 1 day with your training provider. 

Supported (or inclusive) apprenticeships are similar to other apprenticeships. However, the minimum requirements for English and Maths can start from Entry Level 3 qualifications. This aims to provide more opportunities for those with a learning difficulty or disability to access them. You will be supported with applications to become an apprentice, interview skills and will receive in work support if needed.

Ben (Supported Apprentice):

"I like how I get to do more practical based work, as well as a mixture of education within the course."

The workplace can also make reasonable adjustments and for end point assessments.

They are available to those individuals who are 16-24 years old and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). They may also be available to those who used to have a Statement of Educational need. A Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship usually lasts 12-18 months. The Government have created a website which provides more information about apprenticeships:

Little Gate offer supported apprenticeships across East Sussex and Kent. This allows young people with learning disabilities and autism the opportunity to train, while working, in paid apprenticeship placements:

Supported Internships

Supported internships are a structured work-based study programme for 16–24-year-olds with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), who have an EHCP.

Callum (Supported Intern):

"My Supported Internship has helped me to improve my confidence a lot. It has helped me come out of my shell."

Supported internships are unpaid but provide a valuable opportunity for young people with SEND to move into and sustain paid employment. Interns will spend a large part of the programme in the workplace. This aims to equip them with the skills they need for work. The support of an expert job coach facilitates this.

Supported internship programmes will also help interns to:

Supported internships can last between 6 months to 1 year. 

You can visit the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) website to learn more about internship resources, for young people and families.

NDTi also created a YouTube video which outlines a supported internships' case study. You can view this video, below:

You can visit the Careers East Sussex site for more information on supported internships:

BASE have also created supported internship guidance in an easy read format. You can find out more by visiting the BASE website:


A traineeship is a course that gets you ready for employment or an apprenticeship through work experience. They can last from 6 weeks to 1 year, but on average run for less than 6 months. 

Careers East Sussex

You may have met Careers East Sussex in your time at school. Careers East Sussex activities include:

These activities aim to help prepare young people in taking their next step in education, training or work.

Careers East Sussex have a website that outlines information and highlights various pathways available to young people with SEND. This includes finding help with supported employment and careers advice:

Careers East Sussex also have an initiative and careers event, called iCan. 

iCan was made to support 12-25 year olds who have SEND to develop confidence as they progress through education and into employment. It also enables them to become more independent as they transition into adulthood. The campaign also supports their parents, carers and supporters. You can find out more about iCan, on the Careers East Sussex site:

Additional Help and Support

Amazing Futures Careers

Amaze offer an Amazing Futures career support programme. This aims to help with education, employment and training for young people in Brighton & Hove, and East Sussex. This includes one-to-one support, training sessions and workshops. You can learn more by visiting the Amaze website:

Preparing for Adulthood (PfA)

PfA highlights information and resources that help young people when seeking employment. You can find out more by visiting the NDTi website:

Youth Employability Service (YES)

YES is a free service which offers support and guidance to young people in the East Sussex area. They work with young people aged 16-18 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), or are at risk of being NEET. East Sussex County Council commission YES.

East Sussex Local Offer on 1Space

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space. The directory lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services cover many topics, including employment.

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

We explain some of the terms used on this website on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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