What could be more rewarding than helping to train, inspire, then see someone develop their skills and give back to your business?
A Supported Internship is an opportunity for employers to give a young person with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and an education, health and care (EHC) plan the chance to experience the world of work and potentially become your next recruit.
Read on to find out more about supported internships and how they can impact your workforce.
What is a supported internship?
Supported Internships were introduced by the government in 2013 to give a greater focus on preparing young people with SEND with the skills needed for adulthood and employment. Supported Internships are unpaid and wherever possible, they support the young person to move into paid employment at the end of the programme.
Supported Interns are enrolled and supported by a learning provider, but spend most of their learning time- typically around 70%- in a workplace. Every young person is supported in the work placement by a trained job coach, put in place by their education provider. The job coach provides in-work support that tapers off, if appropriate, as the supported intern becomes familiar with their role. Job coaches also work with employers, increasing their confidence in employing individuals with additional needs and helping them to create and support a diverse workforce.
Supported Internships are a great opportunity for employers to strengthen their workplace by taking on a SEND intern, gaining a valuable team member and providing them with practical exposure to a working environment . There are a number of benefits to working with an intern with learning disabilities:
• No additional cost – supported internships are government funded
• Allows you to apply for Disability Confident employer scheme- a highly regarded achievement
• Increased workforce diversity
• Playing an active role in improving future prospects of SEND students in your local community
• Often enhances an organisation’s public image as a leader in employing people with disabilities
• Interns may have skills currently lacking in existing staff, as well as being loyal members of a workforce
A commitment from the business to provide high- quality, meaningful work experience.
Interns will complete a minimum of 200 hours in placement across the academic year (10months). This could be in 1 work placement or multiple depending on the needs of both the employer and the intern.
Interns will be required to attend college for 2 days per week, and the placement should allow this.
You will work closely with the SEND Job Coach to support interns to develop skills and behaviours required for the world of work, whilst providing the intern with valuable, real life experience.
The SEND Job Coach will come to the placement to complete observations and set targets for students to work on in line with their skills development.
The placement should enable the interns to develop new skills and behaviours, engage in purposeful work-related learning, and have the confidence to take the first step in their career to secure a traineeship, apprenticeship, or other employment.
There is no expectation that as an employer you will hire the intern at the end of the internship. However, if you have a suitable position, we would ask that you consider the intern for this based on the knowledge and experience they have gained throughout their internship.
If you are unable to employ the intern at the end of the internship, we would ask that you provide a reference to support the intern in gaining future employment.
You will have access to a SEND Job Coach who will provide tailored support to both the intern and you as an employer. Support can be provided over the phone, over email or face to face.
Support will be provided to arrange the induction period. The amount of support an intern may need throughout the internship can vary, so the Job Coach will tailor the amount of support needed based on an individual’s SEND requirements.
During the intern the Job Coach will conduct observations on the intern to ensure they are working appropriately and developing the necessary employability skills for the world of work.
Should any issues during the course of the internship, the Job Coach is available to support.
Our SEND Job Coach will begin matching interns to businesses based on their vocational profile. Once possible interns have been identified, the Job Coach will work with you to identify the most suitable candidate for the placement.
Disability Confident employer scheme
The Disability Confident scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to your workplace.
Disability Confident employers of all sizes are:
• challenging attitudes towards disability
• increasing understanding of disability
• removing barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions
• ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations
Being Disability Confident could help you discover someone your business just can’t do without.
Whether an employee has become disabled during their working life, or you’re looking for new recruits, being Disability Confident can help your people fulfil their potential and contribute fully to your team’s success.
By being Disability Confident, you’ll also be seen as leading the way in your business sector and beyond, helping to positively change attitudes, behaviours and cultures.
Disability Confident helps businesses:
- draw from the widest possible pool of talent
- secure and retain high quality staff who are skilled, loyal and hard working
- save time and money on the costs of recruitment and training by reducing staff turnover
- keep valuable skills and experience
- reduce the levels and costs of sickness absences
- improve employee morale and commitment by demonstrating that they treat all employees fairly
The scheme has 3 levels designed to support you at every step on your Disability Confident journey. You must complete each level before moving on to the next. Walsall College can support you in applying to become a Disability Confident Employer.
Level 1: Disability Confident Committed
To be recognised as Disability Confident Committed, you must agree to the Disability Confident commitments and identify at least one action that you’ll carry out to make a difference for disabled people, information on this can be found on the government website.
Level 2: Disability Confident Employer
Once you’ve signed up for level 1 you can progress to level 2, a Disability Confident Employer, by self-assessing your organisation around 2 themes:
• getting the right people for your business
• keeping and developing your people
Level 3: Disability Confident Leader
By becoming a Disability Confident Leader, you’ll be acting as a champion within your local and business communities. To reach this level you’ll need to:
• have your self-assessment validated by someone outside of your business (not including DWP employees in jobcentres)
• provide a short narrative to show what you have done or will be doing to support your status as a Disability Confident Leader
• confirm you are employing disabled people
• report on disability, mental health and wellbeing, by referring to the Voluntary Reporting Framework