Supported employment

Supported employment means you are given extra help to learn your job and ongoing support until you are able to do your job independently.

Supported employment will help you if you have a learning difficulty or disability to get and keep a real job and this includes self-employment.

The person who gives you support could be called a job coach, a mentor, an employment adviser, an employment consultant or an employment support officer. On this page we are calling them job coaches.

A job coach will start offering you support in your work experience or evening and weekend jobs when you are 16 years old.

What will my job coach do?

Your job coach will aim to get to know you and find out what would be the right job for you. They will then help you to look for the right employer to approach for work. It is important to find the right match.

Once they have found a suitable employer, your job coach will get to know your employer’s needs and the job they need doing to check that it will be a good match for your skills and interests.

Once both you and your employer have agreed to the employment, your job coach will create a person-centred plan to make sure you get the right support and your employer also gets training in how to support you.

At first, your job coach will give you lots of support as they show you how to do your job. Your job coach may break the job down into small manageable steps to help you to remember and learn more easily. This is sometimes called Training in Systematic Instruction (TSI).

As you become more confident and skilled at your job, your job coach will let you do the job without help, but they will still be there to help you if you need them.

When you can do the job alone and you feel ready, your job coach will gradually lessen their time with you from every day, to every other day, once a week and eventually once a month.

Who can help me to find supported employment and a job coach?

There are lots of different organisations who can provide you with or help you find supported employment including: