The voice of specialist further education

Work and Work Experience

An integral part of study

Work experience is an integral part of a study programme for all students.

Many colleges offer ‘internal’ – i.e. college managed – work placements as a starting point, such as cafes and shops (on and off site), work on reception, site maintenance, and horticulture.

Finding external work placements requires good engagement with employers, so that they understand the real benefits of taking on students with a learning difficulty or disability. Colleges work hard to develop and maintain these relationships, as our employer surveys consistently show.

Supported internships

Many colleges now run supported internships. A supported internship is one type of study programme specifically aimed at young people aged 16 to 24 who have an Education Health and Care plan, who want to move into employment and need extra support to do so.  Internships normally last for around a year and include a significant amount of time spent learning in the workplace.

Benefits of work experience

For students, work experience brings many benefits. They learn and practise skills related to their areas of interest, they develop their general employability skills – the positive character and attitudes that employers value so highly – and they can make informed choices about future employment.

Ofsted has identified numerous examples of good practice relating to the provision of high quality work experience in specialist colleges.

Good practice

There's a wide range of guidance for supported internships and work engagement:

Work experience and employer engagement

Supported internships

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