Skip to main contentAccessibility Statement

Supported Internships, Traineeships, and Apprenticeships

Supported Internships, Traineeships, and Apprenticeships logo



Supported Internships

Supported internships are for young people with SEND (aged 16-24) who want to get a job and need extra support. To be eligible, you need an EHC Plan.

Supported internships are personalised study programmes designed to give each student the exact training, support, and work-skills they need to get a job. Most of the learning is done in the workplace. Your employer gives you work experience, trains you to do a job role, and teaches you the skills needed for work.

Internships are unpaid and last for at least six months. Wherever possible, doing a supported internship will enable you to move into a paid job at the end of the programme.

All further education colleges, sixth forms, and independent education providers can offer supported internships. They will work with local employers and supported employment services. You will be involved in planning your study programme and have a tutor and expert job coach to work you and the employer during the internship.


A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most will last for less than 6 months).

Traineeships help young people get ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

You can apply for a traineeship if you’re:

  • Eligible to work in England
  • Have little or no work experience (but are motivated to work)
  • Aged 16 to 24 (or 25 year-olds with an EHC Plan) and qualified up to level 3

From the training provider you get:

  • Training to prepare you for work, including CV writing and what to expect in the workplace
  • Support to improve your English, maths, and digital skills (if you need it)
  • Sector focused vocational learning to help prepare you for your apprenticeship or job
  • Recognition of your learning

From the employer you get:

  • A high-quality work placement of at least 70 hours
  • An interview for an apprenticeship or job (if available), or an exit interview with written feedback

A traineeship is a training programme and isn’t a job. Employers are not required to pay you for the work placement, but they can support you with expenses such as transport and meals. If you are eligible, you can maintain your entitlement to benefits whilst on a traineeship as necessary.

For more information, visit the Government's Traineeships web-pages. You can also browse traineeship opportunities (including those by Mencap) on the Government's Find a Traineeship page. Alternatively, you can call the national information line (0800 0150 400).


Apprenticeships allow those aged 16 and over to receive practical training by working in a real job at the same time as studying. As an apprentice you will:

  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain the skills necessary for work
  • study for a particular qualification
  • earn a wage

Apprenticeships should be open to anyone, including disabled adults who might reach this stage several years after leaving school. To qualify for an apprenticeship, you must be:

  • Aged 16+
  • Living in England
  • Not in full-time education

Apprenticeships usually last for between one and six years depending on which apprenticeship you choose, the level and your previous experience in that job area.

Usually, apprenticeships involve working four days a week and spending one day a week studying. They are offered at six different levels:

  • Intermediate (Level 2): Equivalent to five GCSE passes
  • Advanced (Level 3): Equivalent to two A level passes
  • Higher (Level 4): Equivalent to an HNC or a foundation degree
  • Degree (Levels 5-6): Equivalent to a bachelor's degree
  • Degree (Level 7): Equivalent to a master's degree

Organisations that run apprenticeships in Northamptonshire include:

For more general information (and browse vacancies), visit the Government's Apprenticeships web-pages. You can also browse thousands of apprenticeship opportunities on the Not Going to Uni (NGTO) website and the UCAS website. Alternatively, you can phone the national information line (0800 0150 400) or email [email protected]

Support With Making a Choice

Speak to your school, college, education provider or JobcentrePlus in the first instance.

State-funded schools have a statutory duty to provide independent, high-quality, and impartial careers advice to students aged 12 to 18 years. The Department for Work and Pensions provides Schools' Advisers to help schools deliver this. Contact Callum Porter ([email protected] or 01604 446347) for more information.

The National Careers Service provides high-quality, free, and impartial careers advice, information, and guidance. It is available for anyone aged 13+ no matter what stage of the careers journey they're at. Visit their website or call 0800 100 900.

Vulnerable young people (aged 13-19), anyone aged up to 25 with SEND, and young people who have left care can use Prospects.

National Organisation
Age range
Suitable for ages from 16 years to 25 years
Referral route
No Referral Needed
For people with
Suitable for Everyone
Eligibility criteria
  • Age Range - School
  • Age Range - Adulthood
Provider category
  • Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support
  • Targeted Services - Additional Support Needs
  • Universal Services - Suitable for Everyone

Publication on the Local Offer does not endorse a provider, so please take reasonable steps to ensure that any service found on the Local Offer is suitable for your family member. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

Last updated 21 August 2023