Employment and getting into work

Information to help your young adults take their first steps into work, apprenticeships or supported placements.

Help with education, training or work

If your young person attends a special school, has a Statement or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)  they can get information, advice and guidance on education, training and employment and other social options from the Additional Needs Pathway Advisers (ANPAs) .

They help parents and their children consider options for moving on from school or college. And should start work with young people in Year 9 at the annual educational review meeting.  Support can continue through to a young person’s 25th birthday.

Your son or daughter’s school can put you in touch with the Additional Needs Team. However, you can contact the service direct and young people can also self refer.

You can find more information on support for young people with complex needs on the Local Offer page here.

View the Additional Needs Team’s’ Moving On Booklet, which provides basic information about education, training and employment choices young people will have when they leave school.

  • College Courses
  • Sixth Forms
  • Other learning, training and volunteering opportunities
  • Individual Curriculum solutions
  • Specialist Residential Colleges
  • Social Firms/Enterprise Organisations
  • Training programmes
  • Volunteering
  • Employment
  • Apprenticeships/Traineeships/Supported Internships/Access to Work

Cambridge guide: Moving On Into Work

Cambridgeshire County Council’s guide aims to help guide and advise young people aged 14-25 with additional needs into the world of work.

Moving On Into Work has been produced by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Additional Needs Employment Strategy Coordinator.

The guide includes information about:

  • college courses, traineeships, supported internships and apprenticeships
  • volunteering, work experience and work trials
  • vocational profiles
  • work skills providers
  • benefits
  • disability employment rights       

One Page Profile

You might want to create a one page profile with your young person which highlights important information about him or her for employers.

This can include:

  • What’s important to me
  • What people like and admire about me
  • How best to support me.

Template examples from the Helen Sanderson Associates website

National work guide for young people with SEND

This guide, published in February 2018,  highlights options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment including

  • Supported internships
  • Traineeships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Access to Work

View the PFA routes into work guide

Finding employment

Mencap has produced four easy-read guides for job-seekers with learning disabilities.  The guides cover

    • Finding a job or work experience
    • Application forms and CVs
    • Going to a job interview
    • Starting work

More on the Mencap website

Switch Now, based in St Neots, aims to provide supported training and work experience, for young adults with learning difficulties / disabilities, to develop employability skills, with the objective to be ‘work ready’.   Visit the Switch Now website

Evenbreak is a not-for-profit social enterprise set up to help match talented disabled people with employers.  evenbreak logo

You can also get advice on CVs and information on organisa

In Cambridgeshire, social enterprises include Phoenix Milton, a charity based in Milton near Cambridge. It offers supported work experience and employability qualifications to young people and adults with a range of learning difficulties. The site has a concrete factory, carpentry workshops, a kitchen garden and canteen kitchen and is open to the public for the sale of products produced on site.  Telephone: Tel. 01223 420669.

Life skills and internships

Red2Green, based at Swaffham Bulbeck, runs a 50-week a year life skills programme for anyone over 16 years with autism spectrum conditions, such as Aspergers Syndrome and high functioning autism.

Whizz-Kidz: offer a range of work placement and internships opportunities, and work skills days – all designed just for young disabled people age 14-25 years old
More on the Whizz-Kidz website

Supported Interniships There are a growing number of young people whose lives are positively impacted by supported internships, as well as a growing number of life changing opportunities available for young people benefitting from them. You can find out more in the videos below.
Ixion Holdings, offer Skills Support for the Unemployed (SSU) – support school leavers, unemployed people and jobseekers to gain skills and qualifications, and provides local employers with a talented pool of employees. They support progression in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and surrounding areas.

Keysoe Therapy & Well‑Being Centre offers training programs centred around the equine industry, focusing on key life skills. However, we also offer ‘soft therapeutic’ pony experiences and programmes such as ‘own a pony’ day and fun experiences around our ponies. This also compliments their British Horse Society Changing Lives Through Horses programmes. You can find more details on their website.

Auticon - employment for people with Autism

Business analytics, test automation, data governance, and complex software development projects are important. IT departments demand precision and lateral thinking. This is where Auticon’s extraordinary employees come in. All their consultants are on the autism spectrum and have unique cognitive strengths, such as:

  • Attention to detail
  • Systematic approach to tasks
  • Logical analysis
  • Pattern recognition
  • Error detection
  • Sustained concentration

Find out more by visiting their website.

Reed Work Routes programme

logo for Reed in PartnershipRun through Reed in Partnership, part of the Reed group of employment and jobs companies – the Work Routes programme offers support for young people to gain employment or get closer to the voluntary/paid job market.

It offers help with creating CVs, developing interview skills, IT and Employability and other courses.

It starts with a one-to-one session with a job adviser to develop a personal training and support plan and then offers tailored training such as help writing a CV and applying for jobs, interview practice or training in skills like IT or customer service.

The scheme is run in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions and can also help with the costs of travel and ongoing help once young people are in a job.

The scheme runs in Cambridge and Peterborough and offers individual support for up to 12 months. Young people are seen weekly or fortnightly for about an hour.    work routes logo

Information and contact details


Disability Rights UK has produced a guide to apprenticeships for young people with disabilities.  You can download a free pdf version via their website.

Mencap has been urging employers to use apprenticeships to increase levels of employment for people with learning disabilities – currently less than  6% of adults with a known learning disability are in paid employment.

And new rules have now come into force lowering the required Maths and English grades that pupils with special educational needs have to meet as part of their apprenticeship. These are being lowered to entry level 3 following recommendations from Paul Maynard’s 2016 taskforce, which looked at the issues facing those with learning disabilities when accessing apprenticeships.

Mencap says that “by ensuring people with a learning disability are able to access apprenticeships, it will provide a route into work better suited to people with a learning disability where they can demonstrate their skills.”

Post-16 Courses

Bedazzle Performing Arts Foundation Programme – 18+ years

This highly intensive course for those with special educational needs offers the opportunity to gain professional experience and be audition-ready. Students are able to elect to study this course at Level 2 or 3, gaining an OCR Cambridge Technical in Performing Arts. As part of the course students are also able to take Trinity Performance Exams. Please contact Bedazzle for more information and to request a prospectus, email us at: officeadmin@bedazzlearts.org Cost: £5,760 (two-day programme), £8,640 (three-day programme). Location: Saffron Walden (CB11) Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm.