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Success for young people on Supported Internships in Hackney...

During the last two years, Hackney Learning Trust has been working in partnership with some of the UK’s leading providers of supported employment services to run Supported Internship Programmes for young people with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability). 

Last year over 70% of the young people from Hackney taking part in JET’s Supported Internship Programme moved into a paid job at the end of it. 

We interviewed some of them for this article so they could share their advice with other young people who may be deciding what to do after college. They hope sharing their experiences will encourage and inspire other young people with SEND to believe in themselves and take part in similar programmes that will help them get jobs as well.

Miraj's Supported Internship

Charlene's Supported Internship

Ezekial's Supported Internship

In London only 7% of people with a learning disability are in paid work. But young people with additional needs and/or disabilities can and want to work. Different options are available to help support them; gaining experience helps builds confidence, learning while “doing” encourages development of good habits and work skills that help find and keep jobs.

One of the providers, the Tower Project, Job Enterprise and Training Services (JET), designed a Supported Internship Programme specifically for young people in Hackney to help them move into paid work in the hospitality and leisure sector with 70% of the young people reamining in or finding paid work at the end of the programme.                    


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With support provided by a JET Job Coach, Miraj was able to develop his team work and communication skills and become more confident in communicating with customers and co-workers.

“Work is so important to me it’s provided the best place for me to develop, learn new skills and become more independent. Without this Programme I would still be in college or at home thinking about work rather than being in work.”

Read Miraj's full Supported Internship story...


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Charlene has always been interested in baking. However, her learning and communication difficulties meant she had not always received the encouragement she needed to believe that working in hospitality and catering was a realistic ambition.

“I (now) have a job that makes me feel proud and even though I still get nervous learning new tasks, I know that I am good at my job and can quickly learn new things.”  

Read Charlene's full Supported Internship story...


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Ezekial was referred to the JET Supported Internship Programme after leaving College. He chose a Supported Internship because he wanted to work in catering and felt JET's programme would help him gain experience and confidence. He has learning difficulties and bilateral hearing loss. When he began working at Haggerston Perk Café, his Job Coach supported him to learn complex new tasks. Ezekial is now in a paid Barista position at the café.

“I love my work, it makes me feel proud of myself as I am now earning money. I am more confident, more independent and happy.”

Read Ezekial's full Supported Internship story...

Thank you to the all the young people who shared their experiences and successes with us for this article and to the Tower Project (JET Job Enterprise and Training) 

Other information...

Supported internships are for young people aged 16 – 24 who have special educational needs or disability (SEND). They are set up to develop helpful skills and attitudes needed for the workplace and are suitable for those who learn best by doing. 

Young people with SEND often go to college before doing a supported internship. Some college courses incorporate a supported internship in the final year. Other colleges work with supported internship providers to offer taster sessions or shorter projects that prepare young people for taking part in a full supported internship after college.

Supported internships are intended for those with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) so the Plan’s coordinator would discuss them as a range of options with a young person.

Find out more: Supported Internships 

For more information on Supported Internships and impartial information, advice and careers guidance for young people who live in Hackney contact the careers advice service Prospects

Phone: 07769 648 664 ( SEND advisor Bryan Taylor)

Phone: 020 8356 2664 (office)


We are keen for young people with SEND in Hackney to see themselves more widely represented. 

If you are a young person with SEND or are a parent or professional working to encourage and support a young person, and have a success story to share with us please get in touch: Contact Us 

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