Work Experience for Young People with SEND

Work experience normally refers to a temporary work placement within a company where you will work on junior-level tasks to gain experience, skills and knowledge of what it is like to work.

Work experience placements are usually short-term, lasting from several days to several weeks. Placements should be designed with the young person in mind. Some might not be able to cope with a whole week in the workplace but might be able to manage a day per week over an extended period.

Students with SEND who go on work experience often benefit hugely from the opportunity to be more independent, gain confidence and develop their communication and interpersonal skills.

Where do I look?

Work experience opportunities are not advertised and are best arranged by families, schools or colleges approaching a work place directly.

Many schools will help young people with SEND to find and attend work experience opportunities using contacts they already have. Most schools and colleges use a centralised system for organising/ administering work-related activities.

People also ask their own friends, family and neighbours to find possible leads for work experience.

Types of work experience
  • Volunteering - Working with a charity or organisation on a voluntary, unpaid basis. Find volunteering opportunities.
  • Work shadowing - A day or more observing a person in their role to gain real insight into the work.
  • Part-time jobs - Paid work for up to 15 hours per week during term-time, which can sometimes continue over the holidays.
Support for SEND whilst on work experience

Organisations should treat students as regular employees as far as possible, but recognise that, given their lack of work experience, they might need some additional coaching and supervision. A good induction will help participants to settle into the working environment.

Families and schools will need to discuss what support is available within the workplace for a young people with SEND as this will vary.

More Information

More general information about work experience and ways of working can be found on izzy-info - our website for young people.

There are other projects in Islington that offer support to get into employment to young people with SEND or who have suffered mental health problems.

Related articles