Education, employment and training
Routes into paid employment
Many young people with learning difficulties or a disability will want to have a job in the future. To achieve this goal they may need additional support during their training or in the work place. Not everyone will be able to undertake full time work whilst others may want to consider self-employment or a micro enterprise. There are an increasing number of options available after school that can lead to work and these are outlined below.
Deciding what to do after leaving school can be a challenging and confusing time. Most of us want to develop our skills and experiences to prepare us to get a job. But what is the best way?
This Pathway Planner has been put together to help you in your journey into work; whether you have never worked before, are returning to work or if you want to develop your skills in preparation for work. Some of the services listed in this directory will help you consider your education, training or work programme options so you can decide which feels right for you, in your journey after leaving school.
SEND Employment Pathway Coordinator
Our SEND Employment Pathways Coordinator, Rachel Edwards, is working to develop the range of local employment opportunities that are accessible to young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with the aim of increasing the number of those who enter paid employment. Working with Economy teams, education providers and employers, Rachel will be creating a range of work and training opportunities including; work experience, Traineeships, Supported Internships, Apprenticeships and jobs for young people who aspire to work.
If you’d like to hear more please contact the Local Offer
The Local Offer website provides details of your local colleges and sixth forms.
Local Colleges have a number of routes that can lead to employment. One option is to undertake academic qualifications (e.g. GCSE’s and A levels) which are accepted entry requirements for some jobs. Alternatively they can lead to into Higher Education and then onto employment.
Another route is to do a vocational (work related) course – these can be in anything from bricklaying and engineering to beauty, tourism and sport. Usually there are different levels of course and entry may depend on GCSE results or other qualifications. These can lead directly to a job or can lead to Higher Education.
Courses run within special educational needs departments (Entry Level) enable students to focus on gaining the skills they will need as they prepare for adulthood and the work place. Some courses will provide work tasters and can directly lead onto Supported Internships and paid work.
The final route is through courses run by the special needs departments. Often these courses are at entry level and enable students to have work tasters and concentrate on gaining the skills they will need for the work place.
Higher Education is a course of study that leads to a degree. Further Education Colleges offer Foundation degrees and Universities offer Honours degrees.
Information on courses and entry requirements can be found on the UCAS website.
For information on what support might be available to help you going to university if you have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), please click here.
There are a number of local training providers who offer study programmes. Trainees will gain work experience, undertake work related qualifications and if necessary will continue with their maths and English. Trainees may be entitled to a bursary. It is possible within some study programmes for trainees who have additional needs to have 1 to 1 support.
More information on study programmes:
Supported Internships are specialised study programmes for young people who want to move into paid work. They are designed for 16-24 years olds with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
You can download the West London Alliance's Guide to Supported Internships leaflet for more information abotu what Supported Internships involve and whether they might be right for you.
Westminster City Council run a Supported Internship Programme every year allowing 10 young people to come and get valuable workplace experience and support across three council departments. You can read more about the Westminster City Council Supported Internship by clicking here.
Please see West London Alliance's 2020 Guide to Supported Internship by clicking this link.
Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification and develop work related skills while earning a salary. There are usually entry requirements as young people need to be working towards at least a level 2 qualification. If you do not have the entry requirements for an apprenticeship, a Supported Internship may be an alternative route into employment accessible for you.
Vacancies can be found on the National Apprenticeship website.
There may be a number of reasons for choosing to become self-employed. You may have an idea for your own business, you may want to work in an environment which you can adjust to suit your needs or self-employment may be the best way of arranging a job around your skills. Setting up your own business can seem daunting and it is hard work but it can also be very rewarding and there are organisations that can offer help, guidance and financial support in the form of grants or loans.
One useful point of contact if you’re considering self-employment is the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Jobcentre Plus office. They can help you decide whether self-employment is a viable option and help you find sources of funding and support.
The Enterprise Allowance will give people getting Jobseeker’s Allowance access to business mentoring and a financial package. This includes a weekly allowance payable over 26 weeks’ worth up to £1,274, allowing you to establish your business and cash flow. You can also get a low cost loan to help with start-up costs.
You might be able to take part in the New Enterprise Allowance if you’re aged 18 and over and have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for three months or more and you have a viable business idea. More information can be found on the GOV.UK website
The Association of Disabled Professionals website aims to provide networking opportunities and share good practice for self-employed disabled people and those setting up their own businesses.
There a number of organisations available to offer advice and support to people looking for employment in addition to the organisations listed above.
This is a supported employment service working with Westminster residents age 18+ with a disability who want to gain employment.
Westminster Employment Service –
This is a employment service working with all Westminster residents age 16+ who want support to get an apprenticeship or job. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/employment
This is for young Londoners with a learning disability, facing social isolation and loneliness. Using sport and specialised mentoring, these young Londoners unite to compete in employability challenges to improve their career aspirations and become more integrated in their local communities.
This service can give help and advice to claimants looking for a job.
Employment agencies –
help employers recruit staff to temporary and permanent vacancies they have. Remploy are a specialist employment service for people with disabilities.