Change that leads to better lives

Understanding Supported Internships for Providers and Colleges

In this in-depth guide, we explain what supported internships are and offer essential guidance to providers and colleges to better develop their supported internships programmes.

Cover Alt-text: Understanding Supported Internships (For Providers & Colleges)

Understanding supported internships from a provider or college perspective is crucial for enhancing educational outcomes and creating a more inclusive learning environment. By embracing these programmes, you can empower young people with SEND to succeed while bolstering your institution's reputation and community engagement.

This in-depth guide offer essential guidance to providers and colleges to better develop their supported internships programmes.

1. What Are Supported Internships?

Supported internships represent a significant opportunity to enhance the prospects of young individuals with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) by guiding them toward sustainable, paid employment. As a provider or college, it's essential to understand how supported internships can benefit both your institution and the young people you serve.

Supported internships hold immense potential for further education institutions:

  • Enhancing Education: Supported internships complement your educational offerings by providing real-world, work-based experiences for young people with SEND.
  • Meeting Regulatory Requirements: They align with educational regulations, especially for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND who have Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plans and are engaged in full-time education.
  • Improving Outcomes: Supported internships are an effective way to demonstrate your commitment to improving outcomes for your students.

2. Key Objectives of Supported Internships

As a provider or college, it's crucial to understand the primary goals of supported internships:

  • Developing Employability Skills: These programmes focus on nurturing skills highly regarded by employers. This means young people will be better prepared for the job market when they complete their studies with you.
  • Demonstrating Workplace Value: Supported internships enable participants to showcase their worth within a work environment, which reflects positively on your institution's programmes.
  • Boosting Confidence: Participants gain confidence in their abilities to excel in the workplace, which can enhance their overall educational experience.

What does that mean for providers and colleges?

  • Alignment with Educational Goals: Supported internships align with your institution's mission to prepare students for future success by providing hands-on experience and skill development.
  • Positive Outcomes: These programmes contribute to positive outcomes for your students, which can enhance your institution's reputation.

3. Measuring Success

Supported internships aim for a clear measure of success: the successful transition to sustained and paid employment. As a provider or college, this means that your programmes can directly contribute to the long-term success of your students.

What does that mean for providers and colleges?

  • Fulfilment of Educational Mission: Supporting young people in securing paid employment aligns with your institution's mission to empower students to achieve their career goals.

4. Additional Benefits of Supported Internships

Supported internships offer several additional benefits that extend beyond individual success to impact the broader community:

  • Building Confidence and Self-Esteem: Employment fosters self-belief and self-esteem among your students, contributing to their personal growth.
  • Enhancing Health and Well-being: Gainful employment positively impacts the physical and mental well-being of your students.
  • Fostering Friendships and a Social Life: The workplace often leads to new friendships and an enriched social life for your students.

What does that mean for providers and colleges?

  • Community Engagement: By offering supported internships, your institution contributes to building a stronger, more inclusive community.

5. Key Features of Supported Internships

Understanding the key features of supported internships is vital as a provider or college:

  • Structured Work-Based Study: Supported internships are structured work-based study programmes that align with your institution's educational goals.
  • Age and Eligibility: These programmes are available to 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND who possess an EHC plan and are engaged in full-time education, making them an essential part of your educational offerings.
  • Duration: Supported internships typically run for a minimum of 6 months and can extend up to a year, offering flexibility within your academic calendar.
  • Wage Exemption: It's essential to know that supported internships are exempt from National Minimum Wage regulations, which may influence how you structure these programmes.

What does that mean for providers and colleges?

  • Compliance and Flexibility: Understanding the regulatory aspects and flexibility of supported internships can help you tailor your programmes effectively.
  • Work Placement: Participants engage in a substantial work placement facilitated by an expert job coach, integrating practical experiences with classroom learning.
  • Skill Development: The primary focus of supported internships is equipping young people with the essential skills required for employment. This is achieved through experiential learning in the workplace, which can significantly enhance your institution's reputation for producing job-ready graduates.
  • Structured Study: A personalised study programme, typically delivered by your school or college, complements the work placement. This may include opportunities to gain relevant qualifications and receive instruction in English and mathematics at an appropriate level. Aligning your curriculum with the requirements of supported internships can lead to improved outcomes for your students.
  • Career Alignment: Supported internships are designed to align with the long-term career aspirations and capabilities of the young person. As a provider or college, this means you can tailor these programmes to meet the unique needs and goals of your students.
  • Curriculum Enhancement: By incorporating supported internships into your curriculum, you can provide students with practical experiences that align with their career aspirations, potentially leading to better post-graduation outcomes.

6. Dedicated Support

Each participant in supported internships receives dedicated support during their work placement from a trained job coach, provided by your education provider. The job coach delivers in-work assistance, which may gradually taper off as the supported intern becomes more familiar with their role.

What does that mean for providers and colleges?

  • Supportive Environment: Supported internships create a supportive learning environment within your institution, fostering collaboration between educators, job coaches, and students.
  • Professional Development: As a provider or college, you have an opportunity to invest in the professional development of your staff who serve as job coaches, enhancing their expertise in supported internships.
  • Employer Collaboration: Your institution's collaboration with employers demonstrates your commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce, which can positively impact your reputation in the community.

Remember, supported internships are not just about preparing young individuals for employment; they're about transforming lives and enriching communities. Your institution can play a pivotal role in this transformative journey, providing valuable opportunities for young people and contributing to a more inclusive society.

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