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.
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.
Therapy, Nursing and Personal Care in Colleges
Colleges are expected to meet the needs of any of their learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The way that this support is offered and how it is paid for can vary between colleges. Information for how local colleges meet support needs, please download our Therapy, Nursing and Personal Care in Colleges document.
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 Guide to Supported Internships leaflet for more information about what Supported Internships involve and whether they might be right for you.
Kensington and Chelsea 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 RBKC Supported Internship by clicking here.
Please find a summary of our local Supported Internship / Supported Employment programmes here.
MENCAP Open Day 2024
Mencap are hosting their first Virtual Opening Evening (for our fourth cohort of learners commencing September 2025) on the 23rd of January at 6pm. To sign up please follow this link and reserve your spot. More information on the Supported Internship Programme via this link. Please note that our first Open Evening is solely for residents of Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Kensington, Chelsea, Cities of London and Westminster. Our second and third open days will then be open to the other boroughs. Any questions you may have please email [email protected]. Click here for the Open Day Flyer
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.
Balance are an employment support service for people who have a learning, physical or sensory disability and live in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
We support people to achieve their professional goals, helping them to engage into volunteer experiences, work experiences or paid 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.
Genius Within deliver two new employability programmes in partnership with Mencap in Brixton, Lambeth for all young people with disabilities living in London to support them into work/training. They offer bespoke person centred strength-based training which will be a mixture of face to face and virtual. There is also an option to get level 2 English and Maths if required. Both programmes provide ongoing support (up to 26 weeks) after placement in training/employment as well and can help with support in the setting and agreeing and reviewing reasonable adjustments.
Employ Me: helps 16-24 year olds with Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD etc.. offering 1:1 coaching , support and group sessions to help young people get into employment or training. More info can be found in the leaflets in the downloads section. To refer, please complete the referral form which can be found in the downloads.
Able2: helps 16-24 year olds with physical disabilities or long-term health conditions to achieve their employment, education and training goals. aged 16-24, who have a physical disability or long-term health condition. To refer, please email [email protected]
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.
Here are some docuements which you may find useful:
Action West London
Action West London delivers a number of projects which supports unemployed local people into Employment, Education or Enterprise from a wide range of backgrounds. This includes, NEET young people, including those with disabilities or emotional needs, ex offenders, refugees, BAME Women and other unemployed groups. People using the service receive support from a Personal Advisor who provides information, advice and guidance including:
• Confidence-building activities
• Life skills support
• Employability skills training
• Access to meaningful work experience, volunteering and links to local employment and training opportunities.
The service is provided through a mix of one-to-one and group support.
Here are some docuements which you may find useful: