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Employers and employability

Learners with SEND can face real challenges finding and sustaining employment. The resources on this page will help you to engage with employers, support learners with SEND to find and sustain work.

T Levels and learners with SEND

Watch the one hour webinar, Understanding T Levels for teachers and trainers supporting learners with SEND, available on the Foundation Online Learning (FOL) site. You will need to register on FOL and then select T Levels, Understanding T Levels where you will find the webinar listed.

This webinar introduced the main features of T Levels and the implications for teacher - trainers with SEND learners. It includes an interview case study with Exeter College.

Employer engagement

The Right PlaceAn image of The Right Place online coursework placements for students with SEND, is a free online interactive course created by the Foundation in partnership with Mencap. The course has three modules: planning, engaging employers and job coaching in the work place; throughout the course young people with SEND, employers and job coaches share their experience. The course contains useful resources for download.

The Develop Cluster Group held a Business Challenge Day – “Dragons’ Den” event to showcase the capabilities of their learners to employers; who could potentially offer work placements and employment. Read the case study and see the supporting resources.

Engaging employers to find work experience for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is a guide to post 16 providers produced by the Preparing for Adulthood programme. It provides advice on how to engage and work with employers so that you can gain work experience and placements for learners with SEND.

You'll find more resources related to employer engagement below.

Making careers provision effective

Schools and colleges should seek to help young people with SEND to aspire to a wide range of destinations and to realise these aspirations. Providing students with taster opportunities, work experience, mentoring, enterprise education, access to role models and inspiring speakers can all help to achieve this.

The SEND Gatsby Benchmark Toolkit, 2018

Finding employment can be difficult for An image of the SEND Gatsby toolkityoung people with SEND. They can face their own unique challenges in transitioning from school to further learning and the workplace. The SEND Gatsby Toolkit provides guidance to providers on what good careers provision looks like. It details eight benchmarks, explaining what each is and what it looks like in practice. 

The Gatsby Foundation, has published a new resource using the Gatsby Benchamrks with students with SEND. The resource, Good Career Guidance: Perspectives from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities sector, can be downloaded from their website.

The Careers & Enterprise Company's paper, Transition programmes for young adults with SEND. What works? outlines five key areas which can help to make a transition programme successful including providing encounters with employers, working people and workplaces.

Supported Internships

Employers who have been An image of the Supported Internship Leafletinvolved in supported internships tend to be very enthusiastic about them, but we know that initial engagement with employers is not always easy for learning providers.

To help you explain supported internships, and secure more supported internship work placements, we have created a downloadable leaflet for you to personalise, print off and give to employers.

Improving access to apprenticeships

The Improving access to apprenticeships interactive resource, created by Natspec, provides information, case studies and resources to increase apprenticeship opportunities for learners with SEND. The resource takes approximately 45-60 minutes to complete, depending on your current knowledge of apprenticeships.

An image of the Improving access to apprenticeships resource

You will find more resources related to apprenticeships below.

Preparing learners for employment

Enfield Borough Council achieved Good in their recent Ofsted report. They run a small supported internship programme for 12 learners with SEND. The report highlighted good careers advice:

Managers make sure that learners and parents receive high-quality impartial careers advice and guidance. A careers adviser who specialises in SEN works frequently with learners to support their progression into employment. Leaders monitor the progression of learners very well.

You'll find more resources related to preparing learners for employment below.


Support for work

Access to work is a Government scheme to support people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition to be able to undertake their work. A grant can enable the purchase of special equipment, adaptations or support worker services. Preparing for Adulthood have produced an Access to work fund guidance document to help providers determine if a person about to start a supported internship or traineeship might benefit from applying for a grant.

Professional development

Do take a look at the Foundation's wide range of courses, many of them relevant to those supporting learners with SEND, together with our bespoke SEND offer, take a look at our new SEND brochure for more information.

Visit the News and Events page for the latest course and event updates. Are you a SET member? If so you'll have access to professional development webinars that cover a whole range of topics to help you support learners with SEND.

Join the SEND conversation #SENDinFE

Related Resources

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Transition programme for young adults with SEND. What works?

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The SEND Gatsby Benchmark Toolkit

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Good Career Guidance: Perspectives from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities sector

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Work experience and vocational/technical provision for young people on SEN support: A rapid evidence assessment Final Report

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Supported Internship Leaflet

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How to be happy and healthy in learning and at work

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Personal passport for deaf learners

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SEND Sources of support - Supporting learners' aspirations

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Supporting deaf young people through transition

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What are supported internships - accessible guide for learners

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Supported internships

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Industry placement guidance resources

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Engaging people with learning difficulties and disabilities in workplace learning

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Improving access to apprenticeships