Guide to getting into paid work for 16 to 25 year olds with special educational needs or disabilities
Guide to getting into paid work for 16 to 25 year olds with SEND
1. Your options
This guide provides information about options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment.
The law says that all young people must be in education or training until at least their 18th birthday. This might be:
- full time education in a study programme for young people over 16 (including a supported internship)
- volunteering or a paid job, with part-time study
- a traineeship
2. Supported internships
What a supported internship involves
- Project Search at City of Bristol College
- Into Catering at City of Bristol College
- Bristol Supported Internship programme (the above 3 are City of Bristol College)
Who can help your child choose the most suitable internship
- is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship
- can last up to six months
- offers young people support to improve their Maths and English alongside training
You don’t need an EHC plan to do a traineeship.
If your child has an EHC plan:
- it stays with them while they’re doing a traineeship
- the provider of the traineeship will be named in the plan and they must meet the needs specified in your child’s plan
Young people can apply if they:
- are aged between 16 and 24
- are qualified below Level three (below A level)
- have limited work experience
Where you can find out more about traineeships
GOV.UK’s Get in, Go Far website explains how to get onto a traineeship.
Search for a traineeship near you on the GOV.UK website, which also has information to help your child decide if they might be suitable.
You can also contact your local college or training provider to see if they’re offering traineeship opportunities.
- generally combine training in a job with study
- are available at different levels, from level two to seven
- can take between one and five years to complete, depending on the level
Apprentices work alongside experienced staff and earn a wage.
If your child has an EHC plan, they can keep it while on an apprenticeship. The provider of the apprenticeship will be named in your child’s plan and this will be reviewed annually.
In some cases, the provider can apply to the Education Skills and Funding Agency directly for funding, such as if they can’t pay for your child’s additional needs through core funding.
How to apply
Your child can apply for an apprenticeship while they’re still at school or when they’re in college. To start one, they’ll need to be:
- 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays
- living in England
- not in full time education
Apprenticeships are advertised through:
Disability Rights UK had written a guide on apprenticeships for disabled people.
Read our Guide to apprenticeships.
The GOV.UK website has more information on apprenticeships.
Volunteering means giving your time and skills to help others without being paid. It could help your child gain experience so they’re able to get a job.
Scope has information on the benefits of volunteering.
How to find volunteering opportunities
Your child can find work experience or volunteering placements by contacting the organisation or workplace they’d like to volunteer with.
Whizz Kidz can help you find work placements and work skills days if your child uses a wheelchair .
Volunteer Bristol has information on volunteering opportunities in Bristol.
What support your child can get on a volunteering placement
If your child is disabled, their rights are protected under the Equalities Act 2010. This means an organisation should not discriminate against them based on their disability and should consider how they can make reasonable adjustments to accommodate them in a volunteer placement.
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission has information on how organisations should treat volunteers.
- Disability Equality guide to Good Practice in Supported Volunteering.
- Government Guidance - Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? A summary guide for voluntary and community sector service providers
6. Funding for disabled students
Young people with a disability or health condition who are on or about to start a work experience placement in a support internship or traineeship can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions’ Access to Work fund for:
- funding travel to and from their work placement
- the costs of job coaches
- specialist equipment for days that a young person is at the employer’s workplace
The Preparing for adulthood website has more information about the Access to work grant.
Bursaries of up to £1200 are also available for students in further education, training or unpaid apprenticeships. The GOV.UK website has information on what’s available, eligibility and how to apply.
Personal independence payment (PIP) is for people who need help taking part in everyday life or who find it difficult to get around.