Supported internships, traineeships and apprenticeships

Stoke-on-Trent Local Authority remains committed to continuously improving and delivering the best educational and career opportunities so that you can achieve your full potential through education as you progress to the world of work.

There is no reason why students with disabilities or other special educational needs cannot join colleges and universities. Support is usually good; under the Equality Act 2010 all universities and colleges have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their services. It is compulsory for young people to stay in education, employment or training until their 18th birthday.

Education and training can be summarised as:

  • Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider
  • Full-time work or volunteering (20 hours or more) combined with part-time education or training 
  • An apprenticeship or traineeship.

If college and university are not for you, there are a range of alternative pathways into employment, including traineeships and those where you can 'earn as you learn' such as apprenticeships.

Supported Internships

Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. The core aim of a supported internship study programme is a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an expert job coach.

Supported interns are enrolled and supported by a learning provider, for example, a school or college, but spend most of their learning time - typically around 70% - in a workplace.

The internships provide the opportunity for young people to achieve sustained, paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.

Supported interns are in full-time education and their supported internship work placement are part of their course.

Supported internships last for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year.

The supported internship should contribute to the long-term career goals of the young person and match their capabilities. Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by the school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths at an appropriate level.

Every young person is supported in the work placement by a trained job coach, put in place by their education provider. The job coach provides in-work support that tapers off, if appropriate, as the supported intern becomes familiar with their role. Job coaches also work with employers, increasing their confidence in employing individuals with additional needs and helping them to create and support a diverse workforce.

The links below are videos of young people sharing their experiences of supported internships:

Supported internships - GOV.UK (


Traineeships are an ideal opportunity for young people, aged 16 to 24, who are motivated to get a job but lack the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience. It is designed to give young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for.  Information to help you decide whether you might be suitable, and advice on how to get onto a traineeship can be found here: is a traineeship for me?

Those who have been unsuccessful when applying for an apprenticeship or other job due to a lack of skills and experience are most likely be good candidates for a traineeship. It has 3 core elements:

  • a high-quality work experience placement with an employer
  • work preparation training, provided by the training organisation
  • English and Maths support, if required, provided by the training organisation.

Traineeships last anything up to a maximum of 6 months with the content tailored to the needs of the business and the individual. Traineeship opportunities are advertised regularly on find a traineeship.

Find a traineeship
A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months. You can apply if you’re:

  • eligible to work in England
  • unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3.

You may be ready for an Apprenticeship if you already have some work experience. You’ll get:

  • a work experience placement
  • help with English and Maths (if you need it).

You won’t be paid, but you may be given expenses for things like travel and meals. 


Apprenticeships are an opportunity to continue with your learning and get nationally recognised qualifications, whilst gaining real employment experience in a paid role. Apprenticeships are most commonly associated with construction trades or business administration - both of which can lead to great careers - but what is not so well known is just how many industries, from animal care to engineering, are now offering apprenticeships.

Those who have been unsuccessful when applying for an apprenticeship or other job due to a lack of skills and experience are most likely be good candidates for a traineeship.

As an apprentice you will:

  • learn while you earn, studying towards a sector related qualification
  • gain industry specific skills and experience in a real working environment
  • work alongside, and learn from more experienced colleagues and members of staff.

What do I need to become an apprentice?
Different employers and industry sectors may have different requirements for their apprenticeships. Entry requirements will also vary depending on the level of apprenticeship being offered. However, for all apprenticeships:

  • you must be 16 years or over and not in full time education
  • you must live in England, and have a National Insurance Number.

What will I earn as an apprentice?

All employers have to pay apprentices the National Apprentice Minimum Wage of £3.30 per hour; this applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18, and those aged 19 or over, who are in their first year. You must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for your age if you are an apprentice aged 19 or over and have completed your first year. More information on National Minimum Wage can be found here. This is the minimum rate that employers can legally pay you, and increasingly employers are recognising the value of apprenticeships, and are offering higher rates of pay.

What hours will I work as an apprentice?

As an apprentice you will be paid for:

  • a minimum of 30 hours per week (including time for study)
  • any training that's part of your apprenticeship
  • at least 20 days paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.

What qualifications will I get as an apprentice?

All apprenticeships involve study for work-based learning qualifications, including:

  • A competencies qualification at level 2, 3 or 4 which shows you have the ability to work in a particular area of skill, trade, or occupation.
  • A technical knowledge qualification which shows you have a good understanding of your chosen industry.
  • Key skills (such as team work, problem solving, and communication), and (if you did not get English and Maths at GCSE grades C or above), you will have the opportunity to complete functional skills qualifications in those areas
  • Employers rights and responsibilities - understanding employer responsibilities and your rights as an employee.

What level qualification will I study?

Apprenticeships are offered at three main 'levels':

  • Intermediate Level apprenticeships are equivalent to 5 GCSE passes
  • Advanced Level apprenticeships are equivalent to 2 A level passes
  • Higher Level apprenticeships can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree.

How can I become an apprentice?

There are a range of websites and services that can help you to find and apply for a suitable apprenticeship:

Access to Work Funding

Young people on or about to start the work experience placement of a supported internship, or traineeship with a disability or health condition, can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions' Access to Work fund for:

  • funding of travel (providing assistance for additional travel costs to and from their work experience placement because of their disability);
  • the costs of job coaches;
  • specialist equipment for days that a young person is at the employer's premises.

There is no set amount for an Access to Work grant, and how much an individual receives depends upon their circumstances. Completed applications should be sent to the dedicated Access to Work team at

The application process for those on supported internships and traineeships wishing to apply to Access to Work has now been revised. Changes include:

  • the provision for a supported employment provider to make an application on behalf of an education provider (education providers can still make the claim if they would like to do so);
  • a move from one form per month, to one per placement for each student; and
  • the ability to make applications up to three months in advance.

Attached to this page is a flowchart setting out who may be eligible for Access to Work funding and the form for applying for Access to Work funding.

Stoke Staffs Careers Hub

Careers Hubs bring together schools, colleges, employers, and apprenticeship providers in local areas across England. The goal is to make it easier for schools and colleges to improve how they prepare young people for their next steps.

Ask your school about the Stoke Staffs Careers Hub and find resources and opportunities for your child using the portals below:

Careers Hub – Connecting Schools and Colleges to Local Employers (

The Careers & Enterprise Company | The Careers and Enterprise Company