Employment choices for young people with SEND
An apprenticeship is a paid job, where you earn and learn. You will spend about four days as an apprentice, and one day at a college, training centre or at work.
To be an apprentice, you need to be at least 16 years old. Most apprentices are between the ages of 16 to 24 years old, but you can be older.
An apprenticeship can be in customer service, engineering, hairdressing or mechanics. Qualifications range from Level 2 to 7 and take at least 1 year to complete. This may take longer if you're doing a higher-level apprenticeship.
To complete your apprenticeship, you will pass a qualification or an assessment.
More information is available on our Apprenticeships pages.
Internships, supported internships or traineeships
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) funds internships and supported internships. An internship or a supported internship is unpaid work experience that lasts up to one year. A traineeship lasts up to six months.
Once the six months or year have passed, you are ready to progress to an apprenticeship or employment.
Placements are available for young people aged 16 to 24 with an education, health and care (EHC) plan. You will learn skills for work with the aim of moving into long term paid employment at the end of the internship.
For more information:
Supported employment gives you the opportunity to get support from a work coach. They work with you and your employer to get you an apprenticeship or internship. Or they may support you in finding work-related learning.
Work experience is a temporary role often unpaid. It allows you to gain experience in a career that interests you.
Work-related learning provides the opportunity to start to work and learn at the same time. You may get a qualification in customer service or as a gym instructor, for example.
Find the right job for you
If you are unsure what qualifications you need for a job, you can ask for advice from:
- Start Profile
- National Careers Service
- your careers advisor at your school or college. If you do not have a careers advisor contact the careers helpline for teenagers.
You may also want to visit one of the following websites to help you:
- British Association for Supported Employment (Base UK)
- Mencap - finding work (easy read)
- BBC careers
- Access to Work scheme (support from the government to help you start work) or read their easy read guide
- Ambitious about Autism (employment toolkits)
- Equality Act (easy read) to understand what laws are in place to support you at work.
If you are a parent looking for future employment advice, contact:
If you are an employer looking to hire a young person with SEND, visit one of the following websites for support:
Applying for a job
Once you have found the job you want to apply for, you will need to write a CV.
A CV (curriculum vitae) is a document that employers will look at to see if you are the right person for the job.
For interview tips, how to write a CV and how to apply for a job, visit the Scope employment website.
Mencap also have various easy read guides to help explain the application process to you:
- writing a CV
- going for a job interview
- starting work for the first time.