Supported Internships


What is a Supported Internship?

5 Key Stages to the internationally recognised model of Supported Employment:

  1. Engaging with jobseekers, their families and support circle to raise aspirations
  2. Carrying out a vocational profile with jobseekers and their support circle to identify and understand aspirations, skills ad needs
  3. Engaging with employers to help them understand the business case for recruiting employees who have a disability and to identify suitable job opportunities using job analysis techniques
  4. Job matching so that a jobseeker’s skills and aspirations accurately match a vacancy
  5. Providing ongoing support to employer and employee, both within and outside of the workplace, so that the job is developed and maintained


Supported internships are structured study programmes which are primarily based with an employer and on their premises. This programme enables young people between 16-24 with either a statement of SEN or an EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) to gain valuable work experience in an environment which is more suited to their individual needs. Although the internships are unpaid they are equipping the young person with skills they need for work through learning in the workplace and aim to lead the young person into paid employment. The internships typically last 6 months, however some of these internships can progress into a paid position within the company. Alongside the internships the young person, with the help from their employer, will complete a study programme which also includes the opportunity to study for other relevant qualifications and also English and maths.

Supported Internships are based primarily at employer’s premises with on the job training and support.

Currently the main providers of supported internships in York are Blueberry Academy and York NHS Foundation Trust.


  • Blueberry Academy

The Blueberry Academy is based in York and North Yorkshire with their training premises at the Melbourne Centre in Fishergate and Silver Street in the city centre. Their community partner sites are throughout the city.

Blueberry offer learning pathways towards employment and independence. Personalised programmes can include employability, office skills, animation, gardening, art, citizenship and skills for independence. The programmes include a supported work placement and English and Maths skills. Blueberry runs small group activities which allows for the learning to be tailored for each individual student.

The independence pathway builds a range of independent living- including relationships, personal presentation, meeting up safely and safe use of social media. Blueberry works with several community partners and assists people to build up meaningful activities where they can develop confidence and participate in their adult life.

As part of the personalised learning offer at Blueberry Academy, where appropriate, young people can access Supported Internships. These programmes have a minimum of 2 days per week in a real workplace, with additional supporting activities to work on developing skill and qualities related to work. Blueberry works with a range of employers in the city and is currently supporting 8 internships. These are proven routes into employment, with 2 people for last year’s programme progressing into paid employment.

Main trainees at Blueberry have a combined independence and employment programme where they can develop a broad range of skills and experience in preparing for adulthood.

For more information or to arrange a visit contact The Blueberry Academy:

Tel: 01904 638885.


  • York NHS Foundation Trust

York Teaching Hospital Trust offer supported internships in the NHS through Project Choice. Young people will be offered 12 week placements across the NHS for up to 4 days a week and will access additional support sessions around English, maths and employability. Where possible young people will be matched to areas that will help them become work ready. Progression routes will include apprenticeships and other paid work.

PROJECT Choice is a work-based programme which supports young people (16-25 years) who have learning disabilities, difficulties or autism with the social and work based skills needed to enable them to become work ready and help them to understand the pathway in to employment.

 “The majority of people with learning disabilities want to work and can make a valuable contribution to employers."

  •  United Response

United Response team up with local businesses in York to give disabled people the opportunity to get on the employment ladder. They offer year long supported internships in the workplace for young people with learning disabilities aged 16-24 years.

To find out more about Supported Internships visit the Preparing for Adulthood website


York Family Information Service

01904 554444