Training on the job Understanding Apprenticeships If you have SEND

An apprenticeship is a form of training that prepares you for a set trade/type of work. When on an apprenticeship you spend most of your week typically around 30 hours at a set employers and you are a paid member of staff, with paid holiday. If you are on a apprenticeship and are under 19 years old or in the first year you are entitled to at least £3.50 an hour as a training wage. If it is your second year or you are older you are allowed at least the minimum wage. Typically apprenticeship last 1 or 2 years and you must go to college typically once a week where you do maths and English. You are on a career path learning skills to be competent and capable at that job and do gain a valuable recognised qualification. The course is structured and skills based.

Courses start from intermediate (Level 2) but there are advanced (Level 3) and also degree level apprenticeships. Level 2 is considered the same as 5 good GCSE passes (A-C). The training is however focused on skills to do that job. You learn many transferable skills like communication and working with numbers, problem solving and team work. Most job areas offer apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships have become more inclusive of Disabilities and SEN needs.

You can now do an intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship if during your time as an apprentice you are able to successfully complete alongside your work an Entry 3 maths and English course. This is the case if you have a SEN need for example a learning disability that makes this a reasonable adjustment. You do not need to complete higher levels of English and Maths to access and be able to successfully complete your apprenticeship. Furthermore you are entitled if you have a disability to have any needed Access Requirements for exams and any other useful ‘reasonable adjustments’. The requirement for English and maths to be set at Entry 3 (basic competence) is that you have or have had in the past SEND such as a EHC Plan or a LDA.

If British Sign language is your first language you can use this an alternative Functional skills English.

If your apprenticeship is with a Disability Confident Employer you will if you declare a disability get a guaranteed interview for your apprenticeship.

You can also apply if needed for the Governments Access to Work Scheme that provides a relevant to you grant to help you overcome disability or SEN in the workplace. What is grant funds depends on your needs but can include a job coach to help explain things at work and break your job tasks down, equipment, taxi’s, mental health support or other help as needed. You can also do your apprenticeship part time.

Another training option similar to an apprenticeship is a Traineeship these typically last between 6 weeks and 6 months. You get to try different employers and work settings so you get more work experience in different areas. This gives you time to work out the type of work you want to do. You also qualify for Access to Work Funding for support to help you overcome difficulties that SEN or disability could course. Once gain the course is mainly work based and practical, often a good starting point if unsure of the trade/type of work or apprenticeship you want. Typically you will in addition to work experience do maths, English and employability skills like interview and job searching skills at college. You can find a Traineeship here on the government website

Alternatively a Supported Internshiphelps those with SEN or a disability aged under 25. You must have a EHCP to qualify for the course. This is a course where most time should be spent with an employer. You go to college typically once a week for maths, English and employability. The internship is unpaid but as with apprenticeships and traineeships you can get Access to Work Funding as well as Access Arrangementsfor exams and any other ‘Reasonable Adjustments.

You can find an apprenticeship on the U.K. government site here:

Other useful links

U.K. Government apprenticeships information and leaflets

MENCAP Apprenticeships information for people with a learning disability

Inclusive Apprenticeships if you have SEND information from BASE Supported Employment

U.K. Government Career Helplines for Teenagers

Inclusive Apprenticeships Case Study of Little Gate farm 2016

Intro Apprenticeships Guide for Disabled People Disabled Rights UK

Preparing for Adulthood Supported Internships

Supported Internship Easy Read BASE

The Dyslexia SPLD Trusthave produced an information sheet aimed at helping young people with Dyslexia understand apprenticeship options to help you train for a trade, get paid and a qualification. This fact sheet ensures dyslexia does not get in the way.
Get my First Job is a social enterprise helping all young people find apprenticeships and traineeships.

Wannable Bucks helps young people in Bucks find apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience. It is not disability specific


How to apply to be an apprentice and what to expect

This video is from ucas


A example of a Supported Internship run by Peterbrough Regional College