Supported Internships

Supported Internships

What are Supported Internships

Supported Internships are programmes of study aimed at studnets looking to move into employment but who are unsure where to start. Throughout the programme students will undertake an internship with an employer alongisde a study programme that will help develop personal, social and employability skills to help them to make a successful progression into voluntary or paid work.

What are the benefits of offering supported internships for employers?

Supported internships can benefit your business in the following ways:


  • No additional cost to you– each supported internship is government funded.
  • Acts as an extended working interview, giving an increased chance of getting the right person for the job.
  • Provides a workforce that better represents the wider community it serves.
  • Interns may have skills currently lacking in existing staff.
  • Many of our learners enjoy having a routine and have little issue with completing repetitive tasks. 
  • A none complex training model that provides minimal impact on the learner and employer.
  • Enthusiastic workers.

Please note, Interns will have access to a work coach, allowing the employer to carry on their duties as the intern works independently with the support of the work coach.  This gives the employer the confidence to employ people with learning difficulties or disabilities, helping your business to meet their equality and diversity requirements, by removing barriers to employment.

What will it cost me to offer a supported internship placement?

There is no financial cost to an employer taking on a supported intern. Young people taking part in a supported internship placement are unpaid as it is part of their programme of study at College. The funding for the Job Coach and any reasonable adjustments required will be managed by Heart of Worcestershire College.

What support is available during the supported internship?

The College and Job Coach will work with you, the employer to arrange the induction and settling in period, and provide as much support as is needed during this time. They will support with any reasonable adjustments needed - these often cost nothing and can benefit other employees too.

As the young person becomes more able, the Job Coach will gradually withdraw their support, but an employer will still be able to contact them or the College at any time if issues arise.

What will my business need to provide?

A valid Employers Liability Insurance document and evidence of up-to-date Health and Safety procedures. Businesses need to commit to providing a high-quality work experience opportunity, which is substantial and meaningful for the young person.

The supported internship placement length is flexible to account for both the employers and the intern’s needs ranging from 6 weeks to 10 months with two days off per week for study leave.

You will need to provide effective line management and supervision of the intern and a work buddy or mentor should be allocated to them.

The placement should enable the interns to develop new skills and behaviours, engage in purposeful work-related learning, and have the confidence to take the first step in their career to secure a traineeship, apprenticeship, or other employment.

What happens at the end of the supported internship?

Although employers are not required to provide a job at the end of the internship, the aim of supported internships is to prepare young people with learning difficulties for employment. As the intern will have been fulfilling a real business need in your organisation, you should consider whether you can take them on as a paid member of staff at the end of their internship.

If you are not in a position to recruit or the intern hasn’t met the required standards, employers can still play a role in providing a reference and feedback to the College. Once the young person has completed their placement, they will continue to be supported by Heart of Worcestershire College to find meaningful employment based on the skills they have gained as a result of their internship.