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Preparing for Adulthood - Employment (Local Offer)

Young man in a wheelchair working at a computer

Preparing for adulthood - Employment

Employment is a very important part of life. When people have a job, they feel part of society, they have a purpose, make new friends plus have money in their pockets to buy the things they want.

There are a number of ways that young people with special educational needs and disabilities can access the world of work.  These include:

  • Supported Internships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Traineeships
  • Volunteering

And these are discussed below.

Parents have asked for a comprehensive guide to transitions and we have worked with Family Voice to produce the Preparing for Adulthood - A Parents Guide

Finding a job

Blind woman using a text phone

New government support package to help more disabled people into work

Thousands more disabled people are set to benefit from a new package of support designed to help them into the work they want.

This comes as 26,000 work coaches in jobcentres across the country are undergoing specialist accessibility training, delivered in partnership with Microsoft, in a further effort to help more disabled jobseekers secure employment.

The work coaches will look at how they can support disabled jobseekers with tools including immersive readers, magnifiers and automated captions, which will not only improve their daily work but will also help with the completion of job applications and interviews.

More information can be found on the GOV.UK website

City College Peterborough

City College Peterborough Day Opportunities Service provides a range of supported employment services and enterprises run in partnership with adults with disabilities.

The College Employment Team provides support to gain sustainable work and volunteer placements through their team of experienced advisers, job coaches and support staff.  They help people with learning disabilities and autism. The pdf below 'Employment Hub' provides more information.

You can also find out more information on the Local offer pages here Peterborough City College Day Opportunities page.

Bespoke employment support programme

View a leaflet giving local details and contacts 

First Steps To Success Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough is a bespoke employment support programme designed to support people who have learning disabilities and/or autism to realise their employment aspirations. This could be:

  • Become work ready 
  • Enter into sustainable, paid employment
  • Gain work placement positions and work experience
  • Volunteering opportunities
How will First Steps to Success support you?

 We will work with you so that you gain the skills needed to achieve your aspirations. 

  • We will provide you with weekly one-to-one support with an advisor who will get to know you and your likes and dislikes.
  • We will talk to you about what you want to do, what you have done before and discuss any concerns you may have about working.
  • Encourage you to think about employment as a future option and understand what work might mean for you.
  • Understand what in your life may be stopping you from getting a job and help you to overcome this.
  • Support you to write a CV.
  • Help you search for the right job for you.
  • Show you how to fill out a job application.
  • Teach you some interview skills.
  • Build your confidence so that you feel ready to apply for a job.
  • Help you to show employers your skills.
  • Make sure that you’re ready for work.

 Has a mild to moderate Learning Disability or Autism

  • Aged 18 years and over
  • Unemployed
  • Living in Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough area
How to make a referral

 Referrals can be made by contacting Madeleine Quinn for Huntingdonshire and Peterborough queries on 07956 921367.

Alternatively, you can email

  • We will also accept self-referrals from individuals that meet the criteria
  • If you would like someone to attend the initial appointment with you, we will happily accommodate that.
  • First Steps to Success is a free service and you do not have to be accessing benefits to apply.

Preparing for Adulthood - Routes into Work Guide

This guide provides information about options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment.

With the right opportunities, preparation and support, nearly all young people with SEND can move into employment.

The Guide covers a range of subjects such as:

  • Study programmes
  • Supported internships
  • Traineeships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Access to Work
  • Routes into Work Chart

More information on this and other subjects relating to Preparing for Adulthood can be found on the National Development Team for Inclusion website. 

Careers Advice

Young man in wheelchair looking at paperwork

Let’s Be Clear (So Employers Know What You Are Asking For)

This brief document Employment Guide January 2022 seeks to add some clarity about what we mean when we are approaching employers for work opportunities for young people with special educational needs or a disability (SEND).

City College Peterborough

City College Peterborough host the National Careers Service base in Peterborough.

If you would like to talk to one of their qualified advisors, please email:

Rob Doran –

Telephone: 01733 58835

Andy Mitchell –

Telephone: 01733 588353

You can also visit the National Careers Service website.

Peterborough College - Jobsmart

Peterborough College has its very own employment service, Jobsmart, where you can benefit from weekly vacancy listings, CV advice, access to a wide range of training courses and a dedicated vacancy matching service.

Telephone: 01733 863068

Peterborough College - Career Coach

For Careers Advice:

For Work Experience:

Digital Skills Course for young people aged 16-25 - YES project

The YES Project from Leonard Cheshire is aimed at groups of disabled young adults aged 16-25.  The course delivers digital and work skills for disabled young adults.

The course is delivered using an engaging combination of remote and in-person sessions and delivery is flexible in terms of time for sessions.

The course is facilitated and delivered by a Leonard Cheshire staff member and tailored to the disability needs of learners.

Find out more on their website.

Talentino - Career Coaching

Talentino offer free mentoring to young people with special needs under the age of 25 years old. It’s a mentoring program of 6 1hr sessions covering things like what is a job, why it is good to have a job and similar topics. The mentoring groups can be in schools, groups, communities, churches and similar, it just needs to be a group of up to 10 people that have special needs and are aged under 25 years old.

This mentoring program is fully funded so there is no charge to the venue or attendees,

Talentino have a group of mentors DBS checked and trained ready to go, but nowhere to go to. So if you are or know of any groups that would benefit please email Hazell Cottrell. 

Telephone 0800 298 0178

National Careers Service - Peterborough

The National Careers Service - Peterborough offer free careers advice and guidance. You can view more details on their website Futures for you

Supported Internships

Two young men

Helping disabled young people to get a job

Supported Internships can help disabled young people to get a job.  They are a type of Study Programme.  What makes them different is that most of the learning is done at work and some in college.  This means young people can 'learn on the job'. 

Supported internships are for young people aged 16-24 years old and they generally last for 6 monthts to one year.  

City College Peterborough (CCP) and Peterborough College have set up Supported Internship programmes to help young people with additional needs get into work. 

This programme gives 16-24 year olds with an Education, Health and Care Plan the opportunity to complete long-term work experience whilst accessing any relevant courses at college. A Job coach will be assigned and support the student and employer throughout their placement.

Both colleges currently work with a number of business around Peterborough, although they are always looking for new partnerships with local businesses. They recognise that there are many benefits to hosting a Supported Internship, including access to specialist job-matching services, Disability Awareness training, improving image and external reputations and many others. 

If you would like further information, please contact:

City College Peterborough - Supported Internships


Peterborough College


Finding your future - A campaign by the National SEND Employment Forum

You can view a video as part of the National Send Employment forum campaign - 

The video features Rachel Morris who gives tips on how to stay on track with your employment goals

Access to Work grant scheme

Access to Work is a government grant scheme which supports disabled people in work. Access to Work might pay for:

  • a British Sign Language interpreter
  • specialist equipment
  • extra transport costs, such as a taxi where no public transport is available

Access to Work can also pay for assessments to see what you need at work. You can apply for Access to Work up to 6 weeks before you start work.

Find lots more information on the SCOPE website

You can also view te webpage - Access to Work: get support if you have a disability or health condition


Two people looking at a document

Apprenticeships are where you work and learn at the same time.

As an apprentice you will work with experienced staff.  You will learn new skills.  You will earn money.  You will get time to study.  Apprenticeships can last for one to four years.

Into Apprenticeships  - A Guide For Disabled People

Produced by Disability Rights UK 'Into Apprenticeships' is a guide for disabled people, parents and key advisers about applying for apprenticeships in England. It deals with common questions such as how to find an apprenticeship, whether the training will be accessible and what support is available in the workplace.

How do apprenticeships support young people with SEND?

Special Needs Jungle is a parent-led information, resources and informed opinion website for children and young people aged 0 to 25.  This page has specific information about how apprenticeships support young people with SEN.

Peterborough College offer apprenticeships.

Stamford College offer apprenticeships.

Video about apprenticeships at City College Peterborough

You can search for apprenticeships on the government website.


Tool belt

What is a traineeship?

A traineeship is a course with unpaid work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months.

You can apply if you’re:

  • eligible to work in England
  • unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3

You can find out more information on and on the National Careers Service website.

Access to Work grant scheme

Access to Work is a government grant scheme which supports disabled people in work. Access to Work might pay for:

  • a British Sign Language interpreter
  • specialist equipment
  • extra transport costs, such as a taxi where no public transport is available

Access to Work can also pay for assessments to see what you need at work. You can apply for Access to Work up to 6 weeks before you start work.

Find lots more information on the SCOPE website

You can also view the webpage - Access to Work: get support if you have a disability or health condition


PCVS logo

Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services Volunteering Centre

Peterborough Volunteering Centre acts as the hub for volunteering activity in the City, working with both organisations and volunteers.

Volunteering can help provide you with valuable experience, in lots of different ways such as:

  • You can gain new skills
  • You can meet new people and make friends whilst doing something you are interested in
  • You can build self-esteem and confidence and have a feeling of achievement knowing you have given something back
  • You can help your own community to grow and develop. Volunteering gives you a chance to give back to your community by sharing your own skills and knowledge
  • Volunteering is a great way to bridge gaps in your CV and also gives you a recent reference for employers to contact

Vocational Profiling

Identifying personal aspirations

A vocational profile is developed with a person who has additional learning needs, disabilities and or difficulties, or a health condition to help identify their personal aspirations.

This might be for work - paid, voluntary or work experience.  It can also include interests, current skills and experiences, barriers to gaining employment and anything else a person wants to say about themselves to help them to gain meaningful employment in an areas of interest to them.

Vocational profiles can be done from Year 9 onwards or after leaving school.

You can find out more about vocational profiles on the Preparing for Adulthood - vocational profile website.

Resources for access to work, better off in work, benefits calculator and Employment and Support Allowance


Preparing for Adulthood - Better off in work guide for young people with a learnng disability

Many people think that people with learning disabilities can’t work and have low expectations about what they are able to achieve.  This is wrong.

We need to change how people think so that many more people with learning disabilities get a job, and we need to make sure people with learning disabilities understand they will be better off with work.

People with learning disabilities should have the same rights and opportunities as everybody else.  You can read the Preparing for Adulthood - Better off in Work guide 

Finding your future - A campaign by the National SEND Employment Forum

The SEND Employment Forum have produced 8 videos that are designed to help you decide about your future plans.

You can link to the videos from here 

Government support

Access to Work

If you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you can:

  • talk to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace
  • get extra help from Access to Work, including mental health support

Find out more on the government website.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

Find out more on the government website.

Looking for work if you're disabled

When you’re looking for work, look on adverts and application forms for the ‘disability confident’ symbol.

This symbol means:

  • the employer is committed to employing disabled people
  • you’ll be guaranteed an interview if you meet the basic conditions for the job

Find out more on the government website.

Benefits calculator

About 7% of our young adults on Supported Internships refuse an offer of employment possibly for fear of it affecting the benefits to their family. You can use an independent benefits calculator to find out:

  • what benefits you could get
  • how to claim
  • how your benefits will be affected if you start work

Use one of the following calculators:

  • Turn2us - for information on income-related benefits, tax credits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours
  • Policy in Practice - for information on income-related benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit, how these are calculated and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours
  • entitledto - for information on income-related benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work

You can find more detailed information by viewing the GOV.UK  Benefits calculators webpage

Claiming benefits in their own right as a young adult

Many young disabled people have the option of claiming Universal Credit as a young disabled adult. Normally you need to be at least 18 years old to claim Universal Credit, but some 16 and 17-year-olds can also claim. This includes a 16 or 17-year-old who is submitting medical certificates from their GP. 

Most young people who are receiving education cannot get Universal Credit, although certain groups can. For example, those who study part-time or those who remain in full-time non-advanced education beyond the August after their 19th birthday.

If your child gets Universal Credit, you will lose any benefits you get for them as part of your family. Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, but if your son or daughter claims it, the Department for Work and Pensions will only look at their income and capital and not yours. 

Find lots more advice on the Contact for families with disabled children website

Five tips if you are looking to go to university

These tips have been sourced from a blog by HHannah Louise.  The Blog is on the Council for Disabled Children website. 

"Hi, my name is Hannah Louise! I am 18 years old and have just completed (very successfully) my A-levels. In September I started my university course; I am studying to become a primary school teacher in Sheffield and loving it!"

My top five tips for people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) when starting uni!

Go to open days

When applying to university make sure you go as many open days as you need! It will help you to understand course in more depth and can allow you to evaluate if you believe that this is the course for you. More information prevents anxiety.

Apply for Disabled Student Support

Make sure that you apply for Disabled student support. It is really helpful and allows for all reasonable adjustments to be considered and may be accepted. It has helped me mounds and mounds. It is one of the most important of my tips.

Make sure the university is accessible

Make sure that the university is accessible for you and that you will be able to travel around the university, visit as much as you can and try to find the less busy routes to places where you need to go, this allows you to travel quicker without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed.

Think about travelling

Make sure if you’re travelling

  • You do travel training to make sure that you know when the quieter trains are and how to get to and from uni
  • You apply for a disabled students railcard or bus pass to save your money and thus are able to fund other needs
  • Have strategies in place when things don’t go to plan to avoid stress and anxiety.

Have fun and work hard!

Have fun, work hard and be better than you could ever think. Remember to put effort in and also have fun, try to socialise as much as you can and prove people you are better than they ever imagined. Why prove you’re the same when you can improve and be a better person?

Your disability does not define you, there is ability on disabled people we just need a little support. YOU ARE CAPABLE OF AMAZING THINGS. Keep on going and you will do great!

Free courses

Free courses for young people over the age of 19

If you are aged 19 or over you could access a course for free, as part of the help available from the government to help you access the skills you need to get the job you want - whatever your stage of life.

The free courses include level 3 qualifications and Skills Bootcamps. The government pays the course fees.

Free qualifications for adults

If you are 19 or over and do not already have a level 3 qualification or higher, you can access a free level 3 qualification. Level 3 is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or A levels.

Some of these qualifications are available to study online or part-time.

You may be able to get help to pay for childcare, travel and other costs.

The qualifications could help you:

  • gain skills that employers value
  • improve your job prospects
  • earn a good wage

View the webpage  - Guidance, Free courses for jobs for more details

Digital and work skills for young adults with disabilities

The Young Entrepreneur Skills course provides eight weekly sessions for 16-25 year olds with disabilities covering: 

  • CV writing 
  • Starting your own business 
  • Being safe online
  • Interview prep and skills
  • Understanding disability rights in the workplace

These courses are facilitated and delivered by a Leonard Cheshire staff member and tailored to the learners disability needs. 

The course is delivered using an engaging combination of remote and in-person hour-long sessions. 

The Young Entrepreneur Skills course is completely free. 

For more information visit the Leonard Cheshire - Digital skills course page or email

Please also note that Leonard Cheshire covers Cambridgeshire & Peterborough – they do not have specific locations as they provide bespoke sessions for organisations and schools when they request it. If you know of any groups that could host a course then they would be glad to have a chat about their specific needs and the best way to deliver the course for them?

Consultation and co-production with young people

Preparing for Adulthood - Young Persons Consultation Spring 2021

In response to our consultation with young people and a continuation of that dialogue with them, we have produced an online learning resource.

The Preparing for Adulthood - Young Persons Consultation Spring 2021 learning resource may also be useful to parents and staff who need some training in SEND and PfA. The target age group is 13-25. (Please note the voiceovers and videos don't work on the presentation - if you want a copy of the original powerpoint presentation please email Marya Ali ( or Elizabeth Sullivan Ash (

Preparing for Adulthood (Local Offer)

The learning resource has also been replicated in several pages on our Local Offer for Young People website