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Devon’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer

Training for young adults

Routes into work

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
  • an apprenticeship

This guide on the Preparing for Adulthood programme website provides information about options for young people with SEND to help them move into paid employment.

Supported internships

A supported internship is a study programme for young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which lasts for around 6-12 months. The aim of a supported internship is to prepare you for paid employment.

The course is split between the workplace and college, giving young people on-the-job training with a local employer and a job coach to provide the young person with extra support.

Although similar in aims to a traineeship or apprenticeship, supported internships differ in certain ways. On a supported internship, you are expected to require a higher level of support than a trainee or apprentice and will be offered workplace support in form of a job coach, as well as support for your non-workplace learning.

The key points about supported internships

  • They support you to develop the skills valued by employers.
  • They enable you to demonstrate your value in the workplace.
  • You develop confidence in your own abilities to perform successfully at work.
  • You can build up experience for a CV, demonstrating that you have the skills and willingness to work.
  • They can help to change the perception of employers about employing people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
  • They can help to change the perception of your family – proving that you can work.
  • You can improve your skills in English and maths, enabling you to be better prepared for work, including handling money, interacting with the public and practising interview skills.
  • You can learn to become an independent traveller.
  • There is no pay
  • You cannot claim Job Seekers Allowance while part of an internship programme.

Who can apply?

To start a supported internship, you must be aged between 16 and 24 and have an EHCP.

There are no entry or completion requirements and each individual learning provider will work with you to develop a personalised programme that meets your specific needs and helps you to progress.

Where can I go to find a supported internship?

Supported internships are usually associated with further education training colleges and more information can be found on their websites:

The Preparing for Adulthood website provides more information about supported internships.

Additional support

While you are in the workplace you can get help from Access to Work which pays for a job coach to support you if you need one.


A traineeship is a training course with work experience that gets you ready for work or for an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months. Its aim is to provide work preparation, English and maths training for those that need it and a work experience.

You can apply if you’re:

  • unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3
  • eligible to work in England

Use the GOV.UK website to find a traineeship.

The key points about traineeships

  • You will get the opportunity to improve your maths and English skills.
  • They could allow you to move onto an apprenticeship after the traineeship is complete.
  • You gain new employment skills.
  • You gain real work experience locally.
  • You may get paid expenses for meals and travel.
  • The traineeship is unpaid.
  • You may need to find the traineeship position yourself.


Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. They can take between 1 and 4 years to complete depending on their level. As an apprentice, you will be working at least 30 hours per week and will receive pay at National Minimum Wage.

You will be studying for a national qualification either in your place of work or classroom-based, this can be for one day a week or perhaps on a block release basis.

Levels of apprenticeship

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.

  • Intermediate or Level 2 is the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes at grades 4 to 9 (or A* to C).
  • Advanced or Level 3 is equivalent to 2 A-level passes.
  • Higher or Levels 4,5,6 and 7 are equivalent to a foundation degree or above.
  • Degree or Levels 6 and 7 are equivalent to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Who can apply?

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you’ll need to be:

  • 16 or over
  • not in full-time education
  • living in England

The key points about apprenticeships

  • You will work alongside experienced staff.
  • You gain job-specific skills.
  • You earn a wage and get holiday pay.
  • You study towards a related qualification (usually one day a week).
  • Apprenticeships are not the same as going to university.
  • Some careers do not have apprenticeship pathways.

Find an apprenticeship

Use the GOV.UK website to find an apprenticeship.

Visit the Devon County Council apprenticeship scheme webpage to find out more about the apprenticeships that we offer.

More information

A guide for disabled people is available at Disability Rights UK – Into Apprenticeships.