Supported Internships – Leap Ahead Medway – February 2024

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Local Skills Improvement Plan
by Sarah Parrish


The LSIP Team were thrilled to support the Medway Leap Ahead Event on 29th February at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham to showcase Supported Internships.  Attendees heard from both providers and employers on the positive impact engaging with Supported Internships can bring.

A fantastic initiative for businesses to explore to tap into a wider talent pool and combat the challenges faced in securing your future workforce.

All young people should be given the opportunity to work in their local community, to feel valued and have a place in society and this structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan does just that.

Discover how the programme can make a positive difference. Watch this video to learn more about the programme itself, the benefits it offers, and the wider positive impact you can contribute to by getting involved.

What is a Supported Internship?

Supported internships are structured, work-based study programmes for 16 to 24-year-olds with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

The core aim of a supported internship is a substantial work placement with the support of an expert job coach.

Supported interns are enrolled and supported by a learning provider, such as a school or college, but spend most of their learning time (around 70%) in a workplace.

The internships provide the opportunity for young people to achieve sustained, paid employment by giving them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.

Supported interns are in full-time education and their supported internship work placements are part of their course.

Legally, a supported internship does not have to be paid. Supported internships are exempt from the National Minimum Wage regulation.

Supported internships last for 6 months, and up to a year.

The supported internship should contribute to the long-term career goals of the young person and match their capabilities. Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by the school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths at an appropriate level.

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.

Aims of a supported internship

The aim of supported internships is to support young people with EHC plans to gain paid employment by:

  • supporting them to develop the skills valued by employers
  • enabling them to demonstrate their value in the workplace
  • developing confidence in their own abilities to perform successfully at work.

The measure of success of a supported internship is a transition to sustained and paid employment.

In Medway, Supported Internships are delivered by 3 partners:

For further information, including contact details for the providers in Medway and how to get involved, please visit the Medway Council website here.

In Kent, Supported Internships are delivered by 5 partners:

For further information, including contact details for the providers in Kent and how to get involved, please visit the Kent County Council website here.