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Preparing for Adulthood

Work and employment

Work and Employment - Supported Internships, Opportunities, Advice & Information


Supported Internships

The word Internship on a blackboard

Are you 17 to 24 years old and looking for paid work?

WorkStart, a package of employment courses at Orchard Hill College has partnered with London Borough of Sutton to offer a Supported Internship.

Programme starting September 2021. 

Places are limited - find out more here (PDF, 101.32KB) (DOCX, 20.65KB)

Read a Student Friendly version of the Supported Internship information (DOCX 43.79KB).

To be eligible, you will need to:

  • want to work
  • ideally had some prior work experience
  • be 16-24
  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan

The aim of Interns and Outcomes is to help progress each intern towards and ideally into work. The programme is the equivalent of a college course so runs from September to July each year and includes a minimum of 300 hours of work experience. Learn more about Mencap: Supported Internships (PDF, 19.46MB) (DOCX 64MB)

A downloadable brochure can be found here (PDF, 2944KB) (DOCX 23.36MB)

A presentation can be found here (PPTX, 95.6MB).

Watch Patrick’s story here (external link).



A man with a telescope in a hot air balloon

A multi-award winning charity providing innovative opportunities for Londoners with autism to transition from school/college towards and into employment.


Choice Support work with the London Borough of Sutton to support people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities and sensory impairments to gain and keep paid employment. This may mean paid work, work experience or voluntary work.

Nickel support is a  not-for-profit community interest organisation which  supports adults (16+) with learning disabilities by offering real life opportunities. This could be to improve work skills, or support with life skill development. They offer people the chance to get involved with social enterprises managed and run by the trainees with learning disabilities who access the service. 

Steps into Work is a 3 way partnership between TFL, Mencap and Barnet & Southgate College that provides work experience for adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities and/or on the autism spectrum.


Training and Programmes

A man standing at a whiteboard

Better Working Futures (also known as the Work and Health Programme) gives people who face additional barriers to starting work the best support available.

Read the Better Working Futures brochure (PDF, 443.99KB) (DOCX 1.89MB)

The Change Foundation runs programmes designed and delivered by young people with lived expereince, tackling issues relevant to young people today.

London Futures is an employability programme for young Londoners with learning disabilities and mental health problems, facing social isolation and loneliness. Using support and specialised mentoring, these young Londoners unite to compete in employability challenges to improve their career aspirations and become more integrated in their communities. 

Positive Directions is a skills training programme for young people living in South London (Croydon, Merton, Richmond, Sutton or Kingston) who are not currently in employment, education or training and aged 16-24. They can support you by providing training in industry-specific skills, helping you to stand out and succeed. 

If you or someone you know would like to benefit from this free training and support, please contact erin.thompson@groundwork.org.uk / 075937 61897

If you’re unemployed and between 16 and 25, you can meet new people, gain new skills and train on our Team programme.

How it works : Join Team, our 12-week personal development programme, for the chance to gain new skills, take a qualification and meet new people. 

  • Take on your own group community project, making a positive difference to the place where you live
  • Take part in an action packed residential trip
  • Get two weeks’ work experience in something you’re interested in
  • Develop your English and Maths skills 

We also spend some time developing your interview and CV skills to ensure your confidence is sky-high for when taking the next step.

Not sure whether to dive right in? It’s completely free and won’t affect your Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Email: michelle.fenlon@carshalton.ac.uk / Call: 07827 851918

The Project SEARCH programme is a 9 month long training and employment opportunity for adults aged 18-24 with a learning disability, which takes place entirely at the St George's Hospital site. Project SEARCH provides real life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills, as well as formulating a CV, to help young people to make successful transitions from school to productive adult life. The goal for each student is competitive employment somewhere in the community using the skills they have acquired at St George's.  

Annie Brine, Project SEARCH Co-ordinator: annieb@cricketgreen.merton.sch.uk

Catherine Kiernan, Job Coach with Action on Disability: catherine.kiernan@actionondisability.org.uk

Beth Madigan: bethany.madigan@cricketgreen.merton.sch.uk

Amy Vinall: amyvinall@aod.org.uk

OR, watch a video about Project Search (external link). 

Sutton District Training provide flexible training which develops the skills and confidence of adults and young people. 

Call: 020 8687 5225

Email: enquiries@suttondistrict.co.uk

Workstart is a package of courses from Orchard Hill College to give you the opportunity to gain work experience and qualifications. You will be able to work one-to-one with Job Coaches to get you on track to achieving your ambitions. 


Advice and Information

Two people sitting and talking

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support, if you have a disability, health or mental health condition, to help you: start working, stay in work, move into self-employment or start a business.  The grant is not for business start-up costs. How much you get depends on your circumstances. The money doesn’t have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits

To check eligibility and how to apply visit the Job Help website.

The Autism Education Turst have designed a collection of toolkits to help more autistic young people access sustainable and meaningful employment opportunities.

The resources will help employers to develop their awareness and understanding of autism. They will support the hiring and retaining of talented autistic young people.

These resources are also relevant for autistic young people, their parents/carers, teachers, and other relevant professionals to support a young person to make informed choices about their future employment opportunities.

As part of the project, Employment is Everyone's Business (EEB), the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) have been working with a number of schools, colleges, young people and employers to identify ways in which professionals can work together to support young people into employment. 

  1. Find out more about the National Development Team for Inclusion (external link).
  2. Find out more about the British Association for Supported Employment (external link).

They have produced three resources:

  1. Read Employer Engagement and the SEND Reforms Guide (PDF) (DOCX 162.44KB)
  2. Read An Employers Guide to Supported Employment (external link) 
  3. Read How to Support Young People with SEND into Work (PDF) (DOCX 146.95KB)

This guidance provides links to websites that help young disabled people find and stay in work. It is aimed at young disabled people, their parents/carers and the professionals who work with them. 

Government website for advice on looking for work and applying for a job if you are disabled.

Scope are a disability equality charity who have recently launched a new service called Career Pathways, for young disabled aged 16-25 who would like some information and advice around careers.

Sessions are every Monday (excluding school holidays and bank holidays), from 6.30PM-8PM. The venue is: The Change Foundation, The Cricket Centre, Plough Lane, Wallington, SM6 8JQ

Contact Ryan Jones on : 07824 589517 / ryanjones@changefdn.org.uk

  • TIN - Transition Information Network (external link)



    The Transition Information Network (TIN) is an alliance of organisations and individuals who come together with a common aim: to improve the experience of disabled young people’s transition to adulthood. TIN is a source of information and good practice standards for disabled young people, families and professionals.

    WorkFit (external link)

    Downs Syndrome Association guidance to looking for work experience, supported apprenticeships, paid employment and volunteering.


    09/07/2021, 11:12:20