Different ways into employment

There are different opportunities to help you get a job. This includes:

  • adult courses and learning
  • further education
  • supported internships
  • apprenticeships
  • work experience
  • volunteering
  • supported employment

Someone who works with you can help you decide what job might suit you. It may be helpful to take part in an activity called Vocational Profiling.


An apprenticeship enables you to earn money and learn at the same time. Usually, an apprentice will:

  • go to work 4 days a week
  • go somewhere to learn 1 day a week. This might be at a college or at your workplace
  • get a qualification

Accessible apprenticeships are sometimes called inclusive apprenticeships or supported apprenticeships. An accessible apprenticeship means that the employers can make changes to support you. This may include making changes to working hours or the length of your apprenticeship.

To have an accessible apprenticeship, you need to:

  • have, or have previously had, an EHCP, Statement of Educational need or Learning Difficulties Assessment.
  • have a minimum of Entry Level 3 qualifications in English and maths
  • be able to work for at least 20 hours a week
  • be over 16 years old

Find out more about accessible apprenticeships in the Into Apprenticeships guide and on apprenticeships.gov.uk.

You may find someone who would like to employ you but does not yet offer accessible apprenticeships. They would need to contact the Targeted Employment Team for help setting up an accessible apprenticeship.

Supported internships

A supported internship is a study programme. The majority of your time is spent with an employer.  The aim is for you to gain paid employment at the end of the course. They are offered by Further Education colleges and you are supported in the work place by a trained job coach.

Usually, a supported internship will last for a year and includes:

  • unpaid work experience of at least 6 months (once you are ready, this will increase to 20 hours of work a week or more)
  • a personalised study programme
  • the chance to study for relevant qualifications

To apply for a supported internship, you need to be aged 16 to 24 years old and have an EHCP.

Visit the Essex Opportunities website for more information. An Easy Read explanation can be found on the NDTI website.  

To get an idea of what a supported internship looks like, you can watch a video showing Southend and Basildon hospitals internships.

Choosing the right opportunity for you

Every opportunity will need something different from you. They may need you to:

  • be a certain age
  • have an EHCP or certain qualifications
  • be happy to travel or study
  • adapt to the environment, such as communicating by telephone or working in all weathers
  • feel comfortable with change. For example, working in a new, unfamiliar place or working different hours

Not every opportunity will suit you. Some opportunities may not interest you or help you make the most of your skills and talents. That is ok. Vocational profiling may help you understand what is right for you.