Supported Interships – Bridging The Gap Between Education And Employment

September 20, 2016


Have you ever thought about Supported Internships ?  They are for young people aged 16-24 who have additional needs, with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) who want to progress into employment but just need some additional support to do so.

West Suffolk College has launched an exciting new project which is designed to help and support young people towards securing sustainable paid employment initially through an individualised study programme. The programme will include the opportunity for young people to achieve a work related qualification if applicable, progress with the development of their English, Maths and Employability Skills alongside gaining valuable on-the-job experience within a real work environment.

Supported Internships

  • On-the-job training and support will be available from our skilled Employability Coaches to ensure both the employer’s and the young person’s individual needs are met.
  • The programme duration is expected to be between 6 & 12 months.
  • Ideally a minimum of 2 days a week will be spent at the employer’s premises and 1 day off-the-job training (normally at college).
  • Before joining the programme the young person will have had ‘work preparation support’ to enable them to engage in the initial demands of real job conditions.
  • Regular progress monitoring will take place to ensure realistic targets and goals can be met.
  • The ultimate programme goal for the young person is for them to demonstrate that they have gained the ability, skills and knowledge to secure independent employment.
  • The ultimate programme goal for the employer is to provide a realistic opportunity to employ a young person who has proven they are able to carry out a job role that is valuable to their core business.

Benefits to an Employer of being involved in the Project:

  • The chance to be involved in a brand new ground breaking project
  • Access to specialist job matching – Vocational Profiling is undertaken with prospective interns to ensure that their skills, strengths, abilities match the job and task requirements.
  • The tasks performed by the young person should fulfil a genuine business need and therefore be a productive contribution to the business
  • Reduction in potential recruitment costs
  • Interns may have additional useful skills compared with existing staff i.e. a person with high functioning Autism may have significantly above average accuracy levels
  • Employability coaches will be on hand to help with all aspects of learning new tasks and building working relationships
  • The employer is not required to pay any wages whilst the young person is on the programme.
  • If specialist equipment is needed we may be able to arrange this through the Access to Work fund.
  • Increases diversity in the workplace
  • Develop ethical corporate image which can be fundamental to business success.
  • Increased staff retention (there is evidence of lower staff turnover amongst people with a disability)
  • Creates potential mentoring or supervisory opportunities for junior staff.

If you would like to find out more about the Supported Internship Programme please contact Joanne Gibbs on 01284 716257 or email

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