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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 in a hairdressers.

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, that can support the 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 e.g., supported internships, volunteering and independent living. 

Programmes are designed to develop independence, vocational and academic skills as well as provide on-site work experience opportunities. 

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 to provide more opportunities for those with a learning difficulty or disability to access. 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."

Reasonable adjustments can also be made in the workplace 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) or who previously had a Statement of Educational need. A Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship typically lasts 12-18 months.

Little Gate Farm 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 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 substantial part of the programme in the workplace equipping them with the skills they need for work and facilitated by the support of an expert job coach.  

Supported internship programmes will also help interns to build confidence and self-esteem, increase health and wellbeing and gain friendships and support networks.  

Supported internships can last between 6 months to 1 year. 

National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) created a YouTube video which outlines a supported internships case study, which you can view below:

You can also visit the BASE website for easy read guidance on supported internships.


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. Whether you visited a work place through school, took part in work experience, or attended an iCan event, all of these activities are a part of Careers East Sussex. All of these activities aimed to help prepare young people in taking their next step in education, training or work. 

Careers East Sussex is a website that outlines information and highlights various pathways available to young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) throughout the county. This includes finding help with supported employment and careers advice:

Careers East Sussex also have an initiative and careers event, called iCan. The iCan campaign has been developed to support 12-25 year olds who have SEND, and their parent, carers & supporters, to develop confidence as they progress through education and into employment and enables them to become more independent as they transition into adulthood:

Additional Help and Support

Amazing Futures Careers

Amaze offer an Amazing Futures career support programme 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.

Preparing for Adulthood (PfA)

PfA is a website that highlights numerous information and resources that help young people when seeking employment.

Youth Employability Service (YES)

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

East Sussex Local Offer on 1Space

The East Sussex Local Offer directory, on 1Space, lists various providers around the county that help young people with SEND enter employment.

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

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