Shropshire Council

Pathways to employment

All young people with SEN should be supported to make the transition to life beyond school or college, whether or not they have an EHC plan.  As well as preparing them for adulthood generally, schools and colleges should ensure that young people with SEN have the information they need to make the final steps in this transition.  This includes information about local employers, further training and where to go for further advice or support.

All young people should be helped to develop the skills and experience, and achieve the qualifications they need, to succeed in their careers.  The vast majority of young people with SEN are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support.  All professionals working with them should share that presumption.  Colleges that offer courses which are designed to provide pathways to employment should have a clear focus on preparing students with SEN for work.  This includes identifying the skills that employers value, and helping young people to develop them.

One of the most effective ways to prepare young people with SEN for employment is to arrange work-based learning that enables them to have first-hand experience of work, such as:


These are paid jobs that incorporate training, leading to nationally recognised qualifications. Apprentices earn as they learn and gain practical skills in the workplace.  Many lead to highly skilled careers.  Young people with EHC plans can retain their plan when on an apprenticeship.


These are education and training programmes with work experience, focussed on giving young people the skills and experience they need to help them compete for an apprenticeship or other jobs.  Traineeships last a maximum of six months and include core components of work preparation training, english and maths (unless GCSE A*-C standard has already been achieved) and a high quality work experience placement.  They are currently open to young people aged 16 – 24, including those with EHC plans.  Young people with EHC plans can retain their plan when undertaking a traineeship.

Supported internships

These are structured study programmes for young people with an EHC plan, based primarily at an employer.  Internships normally last for a year and include extended unpaid work placements of at least six months.  Wherever possible, they support the young person to move into paid employment at the end of the programme.  Students 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. Young people with EHC plans will retain their plan when undertaking a supported internship.

More information can be found in the Preparing for Adulthood – Routes into Work Guide.