Southwark Supported Internship

Supported Internships are a way for young people with a learning disability/difficulty and/or autism to engage in a work programme that should lead to paid work.

The Council has partnered with Mencap (a large charity working with people with such needs and their families) to offer Supported Internship programmes.

The aim is to develop routes into work with young people with SEND.

Mencap has developed two options for young people with an EHCP who aspire to work. Based on an assessment carried out by Mencap, learners will either take a 1 year or 2-year programme, recognising that some people may need more support than others.


  • Aged 16-24
  • Have an EHCP
  • Have a learning disability, learning difficulty or autism 
  • Have aspirations to work but might struggle with the demands of a supported internship with 300 hours of work experience.

The programme introduces young people to new experiences and will support learners to engage with employers and complete placements. The expectation is that this programme will prepare learners for progression onto a Supported Internship (essentially creating a 2-year programme). The structure of the programme will consist of 1:1 and group activities including elements such as:                                               

Community Impact Project:

An opportunity for young people with SEND and members of their local community to come together as a team to identify, plan and deliver a project to benefit their local community; these projects provide opportunities for young people such as:

  • Working as a team
  • Building confidence
  • Learning new work-related skills
  • Developing communication skills
  • Delivering an outcome/product


  • Developing understanding of employment
  • Raising aspirations around employment
  • Building a CV overview
  • Understanding Supported Internships
  • Life skills
  • Money management

Employer engagement:

  • Specific events or employer guest speakers
  • Employer premises/site visits/work tasters
  • Sourcing work experience placements

Individualised support:

  • Vocational profiling
  • Wellbeing
  • CV building with the individual
  • Job Coach support (for work experience placements)

Maths and English

  • Functional Skills
  • Practical Application

Family liaison:

  • Open days
  • Engagement events
  • Direct contact around work experience placements

The 1 year Supported Internship programme:

For those ready to progress straight onto Mencap’s Supported Internship programme (or from Sept 2022 having completed the pre-internship programme), a supported internship is a full-time study programme. The programme includes a minimum of 300 hours of work experience, supported by a job coach where required.

To be eligible, participants must:

  • Be aged 16-24
  • Have an EHCP
  • Have a learning disability, learning difficulty or autism 
  • Aspire to work and able to complete 300 hours of work experience
  • Being able to travel and ideally work independently by the end of the programme

Interns will have an individual assessment and action plan to outline their bespoke support package. They will work with Mencap staff to complete a vocational profile, which will help determine the type of role, and the sectors that would be most suitable for a work experience placement.

Please contact your EHCP Coordinator directly or you can email

For further info on the Mencap Scheme you can also contact:

Ruth Collins

Supported Internship Programme Lead

Supported Internships

Link to our brochure:

Link to film from family perspective: John-Jo’s story

Link to film covering all aspects of the programme: Patrick’s story