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Independent living

Education, learning and employment

Devon is committed to supporting individuals at all stages in life to learn, develop and enable people to become resilient and lead as normal life as possible.

For the majority of people, this will mean they will be educated in their local mainstream setting, have access to local health services, employment opportunities and a range of leisure facilities that allow them to live their lives alongside their peers and achieve the best possible outcomes.

We want you to be clear about your personal opportunities and the support available to you, to help you achieve your goals over the course of your life.

Transitions to adulthood

When you have decided on a career path for you, you may need to look at education and training courses that will support you in achieving this.

All young people need to stay in education or training until they are 18. Schools must help young people to identify what they are interested in learning about, from year 9 which provides opportunities for the future. This could be through:

  • a full-time education, for example, school or college or sixth form
  • an apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship
  • part-time education or training combined with either employment (or self-employment) for 20 hours or more a week or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week
  • higher education – information about what support you could receive and applications to UCAS can be found on our Education for young adults page

We have provided more information and some advice on the transitioning to adult services.

You can find out more about SEND educational support on our SEND Local Offer web pages.

Devon’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer – Education, training and employment

Mencap also offers guidance about your child’s right to education at Mencap – Education support.

Learn Devon

Learn Devon can help you with studying for specific qualifications and has a range of get that job courses, designed to help with communication, completing job applications, developing confidence or introducing you to working in specific areas. If you are on a low income or are receiving certain benefits then your course fee may be reduced. Find local courses at


Devon’ Supported Employment Pathway can help you find a new job or support you to stay in work. If you are known to adult social care and receive some funding, then you could use part of it to pay for help from a supported employment agency.


Your local Jobcentre can help you find a job and tell you about disability-friendly employers in your area. See GOV.UK – Looking for work if you’re disabled for more information.

Support for disabled people

In addition to Devon’s Supported Employment Pathway, we can offer employment support via our Reaching for Independence (RFI) service. If you are known to adult social care and receive funding you may be eligible for RFI’s Employment Support.

Government guidance

The GOV.UK website has guidance for young disabled people on how to find and stay in work and also some advice about financial help for students with a learning disability, health problem or disability.

See GOV.UK – Looking for work if you’re disabled for help with finding a job. The government also provides more information about work and disabilities here.

Other agencies

  • Pluss can provide practical support to help with finding a career that suits your skills and abilities. See Looking for work? for more information about the services they offer. Pluss has offices across Devon and its head office is based in Exeter.
  • Devon Disability Collective (DDC) is a social enterprise that provides training and employment for people with disabilities. Located in a multipurpose factory and training facility based in Exeter. DDC’s diverse range of activity and training includes; re-upholstery services, contract sewing, manufacturing of wheelchair upholstery products for the NHS and private contracts, product assembly and packing.
  • Scope can help you to find and keep a job. They offer pre-employment support, job matching and in-work support for working-aged disabled people.
  • Disability Rights UK is a charity run by and for people with disabilities and health conditions. Their website provides a number of work-related factsheets and guides.
  • More information about careers and work for disabled people can be found on the Disability Rights UK website and the Money Advice Service offers careers advice as part of their Help to find work if you’re disabled guidance.
  • Leonard Cheshire Disability is a charity supporting disabled people in the UK to fulfil their potential and live the lives they choose. They provide training to improve skills and support disabled people into employment.

Supporting carers in work

Many carers manage caring responsibilities alongside a full or part-time job. If you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks, you have the right to request flexible working to allow you to manage your caring responsibilities.

Flexible working could mean asking to change the:

  • amount of hours you work
  • times you work
  • locations you work in

Helping carers looking for employment

If you are hoping to return to work, there are a number of services that can help:

The Devon Advice Service for Working Age Carers (DASWAC) can give you a free benefit check which will look at whether you would be better off working, and how starting work or changing your hours would affect your income and benefits. To use this service contact Devon Carers on 0345 643 4435

If you’re looking to return to work, Motiv-8 SW mentors can work with you to boost your confidence and improve your skills. To find out more follow the links below, speak to a Jobcentre Plus work coach or phone Motiv-8 SW on 01392 873939.

  • One-to-one coaching
  • Confidence and employability
  • Client support network
  • Fit for work (young adults 16-24)
  • Getting back to work

Devon Carers run regular ‘help in to work’ workshops giving you a chance to find out more about support available to get back in to work and speak directly to employers. To find out more call 0345 643 4435.

Helping carers in employment

If you are feeling down, anxious or stressed because you are juggling work with a caring role, returning to work, or worrying about your job, the Devon Partnership NHS Trust Depression and Anxiety Service can help you to cope and improve your emotional wellbeing. If you think this service could help you, refer yourself online, contact them directly or speak to your GP.

If you are not sure about how you will travel to work, or want help to plan a regular work journey, Travel Devon can offer you a free personalised travel plan.

Your employer can access resources to support you to balance your caring role while working. They may even consider becoming a “Carer Friendly” Employer.

Helping carers who are looking to leave employment (including retirement)

If you are thinking of leaving work, it’s important to consider the full implications it could have for your income, quality of life and future pension entitlements. Carers UK have some useful information and advice on what to consider.

Find services, groups and clubs in Devon on the Pinpoint website

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Independent Living Centre