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Supported Internships

As a college we are committed to breaking down barriers that employers may face when employing young people with inclusion needs (e.g. autism, dyslexia, ADHD). Supported Internships help towards breaking down these barriers to give employers access to a broader range of candidates.


A Supported Internship is a work-based course for 16- to 24-year-olds with inclusion needs. The internship starts as an unpaid work placement, allowing you to train the student to your expectations, once fully trained with satisfactory performance the internship will end and the student will start paid employment. It is a partnership between an employer and a learning provider, working together to develop the student’s knowledge, skills and employability.

An internship will last between 6-10 months, this will depend on the success of the placement and how quickly paid work can be achieved. The student will spend at least 2 days a week in the workplace and 1 day a week in college learning core skills. Course content can be responsive to feedback given in the workplace. Both the employer and the intern are fully supported by an experienced Job Coach, who will be your key contact throughout the Internship, to help achieve the end goal of sustained and paid employment.


  • Recruit enthusiastic and motivated candidates from an untapped pool of potentially excellent employees.
  • Customers come from all walks of life, it’s important your employees do too.
  • Enhance your reputation both internally and externally for being an inclusive employer.
  • Provide employees with mentoring opportunities.
  • Boost staff morale and retention rate.
  • Attract positive media coverage.
  • Demonstrate compliance with the 2010 Equality Act and gain recognition as a Disability Confident employer.


  • Oversee the whole Supported Internship journey, advising you of support strategies that may work for the student and how we can work together to make the Supported Internship successful.
  • Help address any development points for the intern; both on shift, and within college hours.
  • Should you wish, ‘need specific’ or more general inclusion awareness training can be arranged for you and your team.
  • The key point of contact between you the employer, the student, the college and the student’s circle of support.
  • Will be on site for students’ first shift, which will continue until the student is settled in the role. We will then follow up with regular check-ins and reviews, until paid work starts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Initially there is no legal requirement or expectation to pay a supported intern whilst they are on the Supported Internship course, but if you do wish to pay the student/intern you can and they will be exempt from National Minimum Wage. The aim of the Supported Internship is for the student/ intern to gain paid work at the same wage as their colleagues; there are no subsidies from the government to part fund a Supported Internships wage.
No, all we need is for you and your team to have a welcoming, flexible, and accepting attitude towards our learners and a willingness to learn; we will be there to guide the rest! You will have the free support of a Job Coach who will always be on hand if and when needed. A key part of that support is to provide an ‘Employer Profile’, a document written in conjunction with the student/ intern, outlining key information about their inclusion need and what support will help them succeed. If however, you or your team would like to access any specific awareness training, job coaches can support this.
Part of a job coach’s role is to support both the young person AND the employer in training the student/ intern to undertake the role. Job coaches are qualified in ‘Training in Systematic Instruction’ (TSI), which is a specific method of teaching tasks and routines to support people with inclusion needs. For TSI to work initially the Job coach needs to be trained and make a step-by-step record of each process then we use this step-by-step guide to teach the student/ intern using TSI. We can then train the student/ intern independently and have minimal input from colleagues. Our aim is to cause minimum disruption to the day-to-day running of your business, so the job coach will assist in making sure the student/ intern is competent at the role that they have been assigned.
There is no obligation to keep a student/ intern at your company if the placement is not working. As a college, we will always review and monitor students’/ interns’ progress, and if either they or their employer feels something is not working, job coaches will always address the situation and look to rectify it. If necessary, the trial period can be extended, or we can look to place the student/ intern in another placement if appropriate.
Yes, we will need to see a copy of the businesses Employer Liability Insurance. We also conduct a Health and Safety check via a questionnaire.
As with all employees, there may be times when reasonable adjustments are requested/ required. In most cases making a reasonable adjustment is not difficult and is often free or costs very little. In cases where specialised equipment or major adaptations are required, financial support may be available through the Access to Work initiative provided through Jobcentre Plus.



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DCG can help with a range of different business solutions including professional development, apprenticeships, work experience and more

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