Shropshire Council

Pathways to employment

All young people with Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) should be supported to make the transition to life beyond school or college, whether or not they have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).  As well as preparing young people for adulthood generally, schools and colleges should ensure that young people with SEND 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 SEND are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support.  All professionals working with young people 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 SEND 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 SEND 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. Young people with EHCP can retain their plan when on an apprenticeship. Find information about applying for apprenticeships at the website.


These are work based training programmes focused on giving young people real work experience. 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.  Young people with EHCP can retain their plan when undertaking a traineeship.

Supported internships

These are structured study programmes for young people aged 16-24 with an EHCP, 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 qualifications, if suitable, and English and maths to an appropriate level. 

Supported Internships - Sian's story
Supported Internships - James' story

Job Centres

Jobcentre Plus is a government-funded employment agency and social security office, whose aim it is to help people of working age find employment in the UK. They can provide information with training and employment opportunities. The Jobcentre Plus also administer claims for benefits such as Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, and Jobseeker's Allowance.

More information can be found in the Preparing for Adulthood – Routes into Work Guide  and by following the links on this page.

Find out more from Enable disability employment service.