What is a Supported Internship?
A Supported Internship is a Pathway funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency for adults with additional needs who want to gain experience in the world of work aged 16-25 years old.
Each Intern will be fully supported by a Job Coach until such time that they are able to work independently.
This Pathway aims to give the Intern real work experience that could possibly lead to voluntary or paid employment.
What support is on offer?
Each Intern will have specialist support provided by Landmarks by way of a Job Coach, supporting them to perform the role required in the work place. They will have regular contact with their Job Coach who will make sure their placement is going to plan.
Might it affect productivity?
Employers who have offered placements have not found this to be the case. The Job Coach will work with the young person to ensure that they pick up the tasks required of them to make sure productivity is not affected and there is the added benefit of reduced workloads for the team.
Will it take up a lot of time for me and my staff?
Some input will be needed from you but the school/college will set that out very clearly from the start and it’s something that will be kept under review. The Job Coach will work with employers to ensure that it doesn’t take up too much time, providing additional support to both the young person and employer.
Are there health and safety issues?
Interns are covered by the employer’s insurance as if they were an employee. For the vast majority of interns, there will be no need for any considerations beyond those that exist for all staff. If there are particular issues, these will be discussed openly with you and strategies agreed between the school/college, employer and intern with support provided to implement any additional control measures. The school/college will do an initial assessment at the job matching stage, which should prevent Interns being placed in unsuitable environments in the first place.
Do we know how to cope / communicate with a disabled person?
What if we can’t manage their behaviours or meet their support needs? The Job Coach can support both staff and employer to communicate effectively with the intern and provide advice on strategies for managing challenging behaviours or creating an environment which will minimise the risk of such behaviours occurring. The Job Coach will always be available to you, either on site or at the end of a phone, if issues/concerns are arising.
Can someone with a disability really do any of the jobs I could offer?
Employers are often surprised at just how much a person with a disability is able to do, once the right support is in place. It may also be useful to think how a specific role might be ‘carved’ for an individual if tasks were allocated differently across a team. Some employers have found productivity is increased when they take this approach (e.g. freeing up some staff from data entry work, taken on by the intern, so they can do more customer-facing activity).
What will other staff or customers/clients make of it?
The job coach can support the staff to understand the abilities and needs of the Intern. It is rarely a problem for existing staff and often brings out the nurturing side of one or more colleagues who thrive in that role. Customers and clients are often pleased to see a diverse workforce, especially if it helps the workforce to better reflect the local community – and that’s any workforce that serves the general public. If issues do arise, the Job Coach can help negotiate solutions.
Will a job coach just get in the way and be an extra burden?
Job coaches are very skilled in making their presence as unobtrusive as possible. They are likely to be around quite a lot to start with – but this is very helpful to the employer in getting the intern trained up to do the job and ironing out any teething issues. As the intern grows more confident, the job coach will begin to withdraw their support over time, although they will continue to monitor the placement and will always be available to the intern or employer if additional support is needed (e.g. if employer introduces new or more challenging tasks).
Will I face some kind of equality/discrimination challenge if I don’t recruit the intern at the end?
Employers are not obliged to recruit the Intern at the end of the internship. This is the ideal outcome but is not always possible. Employers are only expected to recruit the Intern if there is a vacancy and the intern is the best candidate for the job.
The Supported Internship has numerous benefits for the individual including:
Employing someone with learning difficulties can sometimes leave employers feeling anxious about what they need to consider when taking on a new member of staff. Some employers are unsure of what they need to do, unsure of what to expect or even if a person with learning disabilities would fit in to the team.
WayFinder Recruitment believes there are many benefits to employing someone with a learning disability and we’ve listed below what we think are some of the main benefits to your business.