Supported internships are a structured part our our study programme and they enable our young people to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace

Supported internships are unpaid, and last for a minimum of six months or for the duration of their study programme. Wherever possible, we support our students to move into paid employment at the end of the programme.

All young people should be helped to develop the skills and experience, and achieve the qualifications they need to succeed in their careers. The overwhelming majority of young  people with SEN are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support. All professionals working with them should share that presumption.

The aim of supported internships is to prepare young people with complex needs for 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

Whilst the ideal outcome from a supported internship will be the offer of a paid job from an employer, possibly the employer who hosted the intern’s work placement, other
outcomes include:

  • building up experience for a CV, demonstrating that the young person has the
    skills and willingness to work;
  •  changing the perception of employers about employing people with learning
    difficulties and/or disabilities;
  • changing the perception of the young person’s family that they can work;
  • improving skills in English and maths that enable the young person to be better prepared for work, including handling money, interacting with the public, and
    practising interview skills;
  • becoming independent travellers

The high level of individualised support provided to our students is a key distinguishing feature of the supported internship programme. The amount and nature of the support provided will differ from one student to the next, depending on their needs. However, as a general principle the support provided should be that which will enable the student to be as independent as possible, and will vary according to need during the internship, often decreasing over the length of the internship as the intern becomes more confident in the workplace.

Often ‘natural’ forms of support provided by the employer and the student’s colleagues replace the job coach’s support once the intern is well established.
For others, some form of formal support may always be needed and it will be a case of reducing that to the minimal level required by the young person in order to do their job effectively. It will be particularly important in these cases to ensure that there is a plan for on-going support once they progress to paid employment.

Throughout the internship process, students will be supported by our Director of Employability and once on placement will receive at least monthly visits to ensure that they are making progress with their employability skills, to set SMART targets and to ensure that the placement is working for all parties.

Current student testimonial: ” Harrison College has given me a large opportunity for work, build my confidence and develop new skills. They have also given me time to decide what I want to do in the long-term future. My internship with a local business was arranged and I was supported with that – I have now been offered an apprenticeship. I would recommend Harrison College to anyone who is struggling to work out what to do with their future.”