Supported Internships

Supported Internships


Supported internships

Bolton Council are currently working with DFN Project SEARCH to develop a supported internship programme that provides real work experience, combined with training in employability and independent living skills delivered in a business setting, to help young people make successful transitions to productive adult life. It is a partnership between a host business, education provider, and professional adult supported employment provider.

The goal is to provide full-time paid work for the supported interns in an integrated setting.

What is a Supported Internship?

A supported internship is a structured study programme aimed at young people aged 16 to 24 with a learning disability and an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP), who want to move into paid employment and need extra support to do so.

The programme, based primarily at an employer’s premises, is intended to enable young people to achieve sustainable, paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work through learning in the workplace.

The internship lasts for a year and includes work placements of at least six months. The young person will follow a personalised study programme, which will include the opportunity to study for job-relevant qualifications and English and maths at an appropriate level.

The young person and the employer will be supported throughout the placement by an employment training adviser, who will train the young person in the specific job role identified using systematic instruction (a step-by-step method specifically designed to help young people with learning disabilities learn new tasks).

The staff and young people will also be supported by tutors who will deliver the vocational learning programme and relevant qualifications. They will be accessible on site for the duration of the programme if support is required.

How are they funded?

Supported Internships are funded through the education system using Element 1 (core funding) and Element 2 (additional learning support) funding. Local authorities can contribute through the use of Element 3 (exceptional additional learning support) funds.

Young people on or about to start the work experience placement of a supported internship, or traineeship with a disability or health condition, can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions' Access to Work fund to include:

  • funding of travel (providing assistance for additional travel costs to and from their work experience placement because of their disability);
  • the costs of job coach support; and
  • specialist equipment for days that a young person is at the employer's premises.

What are the aims and objectives of supported internships?

Supported internships prepare young people with learning disabilities for 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.

What is the expected outcome from a supported internship?

  • The ideal outcome from a supported internship will be the offer of a paid job from an employer, possibly the employer who has hosted the internship. Other outcomes include:
  • Building up experience for a CV, demonstrating that the young person has the skills and willingness to work
  • Changing the perception of employers about employing people with learning disabilities
  • Changing the perception of the young person’s family that they can work
  • Improving skills in English and maths that enable the young person to be better prepared for work, including managing money, interacting with the public and practising interview skills
  • Becoming independent travellers.