What is a supported Internship?

A supported internship (SI) is a mixed study and extended work placement programme for young adults aged 16-24 who currently have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). Internships could be accessed through a range of providers including schools/sixth forms, FE Colleges (Mainstream and Specialist), Adult learning provisions as well as some training providers.

How does it work?

  • The majority of the SI should be based on the employer. This may be achieved by a phased approach to allow a “settling in” period and a chance for the intern to develop their skills and progress at placement.
  • Interns must complete a learning programme at a local provider that compliments a placement. English and Maths should be fundamental to the study whether it is a direct programme or not.
  • The job must meet the profile of the YP and meet a business need for the employer.
  • Support (job coach) should be offered to the employee to support a successful extended placement.
  • The ultimate aim is the securement of employment where possible. Further training and support may be available through DurhamWorks.


Is there an entry requirement?

  • Technically no but most SI’s are working around Entry level 3 and above.
  • YP can move straight onto an SI from school. Some YP may require a bridging course to develop independence and work readiness before officially embarking on the SI programme. A bridging programme should be specific to progression onto SI.

How long should it last?

  •  Typically a course, when started, would last an academic year.

What’s the progression route?

  • The SI model encourages participants, along with their provider, to seek gainful employment at the end of the course. Further progression may be required but this would need to be agreed with the SEND Casework team and only if it was seen to enhance a YP’s chance of gainful employment. If this isn't proven then the support offered by agencies such as Durham-Works may be the next outcome.

Does the SI programme affect benefits?

  • No. It is a study programme that involves an unpaid work placement.
  • If a young person gains employment, there may be some disruption to benefits but it is expected to be minimal and in some cases no disruption to in-come at all (further advice from benefits specialists should always be sought for clarification).

How is the course funded?

  • It is an EFA mainstream funded course with additional high needs funding available on a case by case basis. Access to Work is also an option to fund support at work for a YP.

Further Information and Advice

If you feel that you require further information about supported internships, please feel free to contact Stuart Cannon at Durham County Council:

Stuart Cannon
Supported Internship Co-ordinator
Email: stuart.cannon@durham.gov.uk
Mobile: 07795446536

Supported Internships are currently being offered at the following providers in Durham:

East Durham College
Project Choice (NHS)
Bishop Auckland College
Adult Learning Skills Service
The Oaks Secondary School
NEAS Thornbeck College

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