Internships and supported internships

An internship is another name for a work placement or work experience with an employer.

Some interns are employed by a company and receive regular pay; other interns are volunteers gaining valuable work experience as a stepping stone to the job they want.

If you are doing an internship for less than one year through a further education college, you are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

If you are doing your internship through a charity, voluntary organisation, fund raising body or statutory body as a volunteer, you will not be paid except for limited benefits for example travel or lunch expenses.

Supported internships

If you are 16 to 24 years old, have a statement of special educational needs (SEN), a learning difficulty assessment (LDA) or an education health care (EHC) plan and want to work, a supported internship will provide you with the extra support you need to achieve your goal.

A supported internship is a one-year study programme that will help you to get the skills and experience you need to succeed.

On a supported internship you will spend at least six months in an unpaid work placement with an employer. You will also have a personal study programme giving you the chance to gain useful qualifications, which could include English and Maths.

A supported internship is very similar to a traineeship or apprenticeship, but the main difference is that you will be offered a higher level of support than a trainee or apprentice, and this will include work place support through a job coach.

There are no entry or completion requirements for supported internships as the aim is simply to prepare you for paid employment by:

  • Supporting you to develop the skills valued by employers
  • Enabling you to show what you can do in the workplace
  • Developing your confidence in your own ability to perform successfully at work

The ideal outcome is for you to be offered a paid job from your host employer or another employer.

Other outcomes you may also achieve are:

  • Work experience to add to your CV
  • Changing the perception of employers about people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • Changing the perception of your family/friends by showing that you can work
  • Improving your English and maths skills to prepare you for work and independent living
  • Becoming an independent traveller

Project Search

In Norfolk two of our local colleges offer Project Search which is a type of supported internship delivered in partnership with our local hospitals (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and James Paget Hospital), Serco and Norse.

You can find out more from them here:

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