Employment for young people with SEND

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Finding employment and entering the world of work is something many of us wish to do.

Once you are 16 years old, there are many opportunities available to support you with your future. You could be:

  • in full time education in a study programme for young people over 16 (including a supported internship)
  • volunteering or in a paid job, with part-time study
  • part of a traineeship
  • in an apprenticeship.

Some jobs require certain qualifications such as English and maths before you can start, whilst some allow you to learn on the job.

If you are unsure what qualifications you need for a job, you can visit one of the following websites:

  • National careers service provides information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work.
  • Start Profile is a free, online careers platform, designed to connect 11 to 18 year olds with their future career potential.

Your job options

It may be that you not ready to start a full time job, and you want to gain skills to help you progress. Here are some alternative choices and support available:


An apprenticeship is where you learn on the job. During your time, you will spend about four days as an apprentice and one day at a college, training centre or at your place of work. You will learn what you need to do 'off the job'.

Find out about apprenticeships.

Internships or trainee-ships

An internship or trainee-ship is a time of unpaid work experience (up to six months). It allows you to experience the world of work, and make the step from education.

This can often lead to an apprenticeship and is known as a 'stepping stone'.

For more information about internships you can visit the Bemix website for supported internships for young people and for employers.

Supported employment

Supported employment gives you the opportunity to get support from a work coach. They work with you and your employer to help to get you into an apprenticeship, internships or work related learning.

These are called supported internships and supported apprenticeships.

Find out about the Kent Supported Employment service.

Work related learning

Work related learning gives you the opportunity to start to work, and learn at the same time. You may get a qualification in a career such as customer service or gym instructors.

Alternative options post 16

Stay in education

You may decide that you are not ready to start work at 16 and you want to stay in education.

Visit our 16+ education pages for support.


You can volunteer to give up your time for your local community. Volunteering can help you improve your skills, advance your career and make new friends.

Find volunteering opportunities near you.


There are many organisations who can support you with your choices.

You should have access to a careers advisor who can talk to you at your school or college. If you do not have a careers advisor, you can contact the careers helpline for teenagers.

Support from the government is also available as you start to work through the Access to Work scheme. Visit the government website to find out the Access to Work scheme, or read their easy read guide.

You may also want to visit one of the following websites to help you:

Parent support

If you are a parent of a young person who is looking for future employment the following websites can help you to support them: