​Supported internships are structured study programmes based primarily at an employer. If you have a learning difficulty or disability, a supported internship could enable you to achieve sustainable, paid employment.  It will equip you with the skills you need for work through learning in the workplace.  Internships normally last for a year and include unpaid work placements of at least six months.  You should be able to move into paid employment at the end of your internship.  You will complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant substantial qualifications, if suitable, and English and Maths to an appropriate level.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the following guidance for:

  • further education colleges
  • sixth forms in academies
  • maintained and non-maintained schools independent specialist providers
  • other providers of study programmes, and
  • local authorities

DfE Supported Internships Guidance 

Here are details of the providers we already work closely with as part of our Post 16 Partnership, and some other options in other locations:

Kingston Hospital Supported Internships (opens a separate page) 

Kingston Council Trainee Programme (opens a separate page)

Kingston College Supported Internships (opens an external website) 

West Thames College Project Search (opens an external website)

Kingston College is a large, further education (FE) college serving the south west London region, offering a wide range of subjects from Entry Level up to Level 4, as well as apprenticeships.

Kingston College and Carshalton College also deliver supported internships for students with learning difficulties and disabilities aged 16 - 24 years with an EHCP.  Internships are a work based programme, specially adapted to develop each individual’s skills and attributes. This consists of on-the-job training with a job coach, if required; provided by experienced and qualified staff and a structured college based study programme matched to individual need.

Visit the Kingston College website - search for: supported learning


Richmond upon Thames College can support students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in a safe and inspiring learning environment through their dedicated team of skilled specialists who are responsible for ensuring that effective and appropriate support and reasonable adjustments are in place for students requiring assistance with accessing their academic studies and in their progression on to higher education, apprenticeships or employment.

Richmond upon Thames College has a Pathway to Work programme, which is aimed at preparing young people with learning difficulties and disabilities for the world of work through a one day a week internship in the college’s Apple Tree Café and further work placements throughout the year.  At the end of the year these young people will either transition to a local Project Search programme or employment.

Visit the Richmond College website - search for: supported learning

Orchard Hill College offers WorkStart courses which provide excellent opportunities for anyone over the age of 19 who would like to gain experience and qualifications in work-related learning. WorkStart comprises two courses: Into Work and Traineeship. 

Courses range from Entry Level to Level 1 and Level 2 (GCSE level) and time spent in college ranges from 4 to 16 hours per week in small groups.

Students who have participated in WorkStart courses have gone onto gain paid and voluntary employment in a range of jobs

If you feel WorkStart may be of interest please call 0345 402 0453 or email enquiries@orchardhill.ac.uk to find out about availability and start dates. 

Visit the Orchard Hill College website - click on College - Courses - Supported Internship