What is a supported internship?
On a Mencap supported internship, young people with learning disabilities learn about the world of work and gain work experience Work experience is when you try out a job to help you learn new skills. with lots of amazing employers, in lots of different kinds of roles.
The programme lasts for one academic year and the aim is for learners to secure a paid job outcome at the end of this time.
Who can do a supported internship?
To join a supported internship you need to:
- be aged 16 to 24
- have an Education Education is when you learn things. When you fill in a form to get a job, education means you write where you went to school, college or university. , Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
- want to find a job.
There are no qualification requirements.
What does a supported internship involve?
With a Mencap supported internship you will get work experience, classroom learning as well as additional support for those who need it.
Most of the programme is work-based and you will be required to complete at least 420 hours of work experience.
We will find work experience placements for you that match your skills and interests and a Mencap caseworker and job coach will support you in the workplace, helping you to learn tasks and to get the most from your placement.
Visit our 'Who we work with' page to learn more about employers we work with and who offer work experience to learners on our supported internships A work placement for young people with additional needs, where they get support from a job coach. .
Our tutors run classes to develop your understanding of the world of work. You will learn about how to find and apply for jobs, and about the skills and behaviours you will need to succeed in the workplace.
We will also help you work toward English and maths qualifications if this is needed.
We also provide extra support to learners who need it like travel training.
We can arrange enrichment activities like trips to museums and local heritage sites that support learning and develop your confidence and independence Independence means doing things on your own. Making your own choices. .
Where can I find a supported internship?
Locations where we deliver the classroom learning elements of our supported internships programme are:
Unable to find a supported internship near you?
Work experience can potentially be arranged with employers closer to learners' homes.
We may be able to take learners from other, nearby local authority areas.
Ealing, Staffordshire, Barnet, Islington, Kingston, Northampton and Waltham Forest supported internships
Our programmes in Ealing and Staffordshire offer work experience exclusively in the logistics sector. This is a fast growing sector, well suited to the needs of people with SEND.
In Barnet, Islington, Kingston, Northampton and Waltham Forest, there is the option to take a 2-year version of the supported internship where the first year would have a greater focus on classroom learning, with less work experience. Contact your local programme coordinator to find out more.
Who do I contact about a supported internship?
Please contact your nearest programme coordinator to find out more about programmes in your area and to discuss the enrolment process. Teams at each location aim to respond to all queries within 48 hours*.
If you do not receive a response within that timeframe, then please email either:
If you would like to compliment Mencap on our work, or to send us feedback about our internships, we'd love to hear from you. Please complete our compliments and complaints form.
Frequently asked questions
What is the cost of a supported internship?
You do not need to pay for a supported internship as they are funded by the Department for Education and local authorities.
Supported internships are free to people who meet the eligibility criteria.
What happens to my benefits if I am on a supported internship?
If you are on Universal Credit (UC) and are also claiming Personal Independence Payments (PIP) then you can also apply for a Work Capability Assessment An assessment is a way of finding out what help a person needs. When you have an assessment, you might have to go to a meeting or fill in a form. (WCA) from your local job centre. Once this is agreed, learners can join a supported internship without their benefits being affected. This process can take time, however, so it is important to start your application to join the programme as early as possible before the start of the academic year in September.
If you are only claiming UC and not PIP, then this will need to cease before you can start a supported internship.
Will I get paid on a supported internship?
Interns are not paid while on the programme.
The aim of a supported internship is to help learners develop skills, behaviours and experiences that will help them to secure paid employment Employment means having a job. . This may be with an employer that you do work experience while on the programme, or we we will help you to apply for other opportunities.
How much work experience will I get on a supported internship?
The Department for Education expects learners on supported internships to complete at least 420 hours of work experience.
If you think you are not yet ready to complete this number of hours, then we also run two-year versions of the programme in Barnet, Islington, Kingston, Northampton and Waltham Forest. During the first year of these longer programmes, you will have more classroom learning with more limited engagement with employers. This will help you prepare for the full Supported Internship the following year.
To find out more about our 2-year Supported Internships, please contact the programme coordinator in your area.
How long is a supported internship?
Supported internships are full time study programmes. You will attend classes and work experience throughout the week over the course of an academic year lasting from September to July.
If you feel you need more time and support before you can enter paid work or before you can complete 420 hours of work experience, then we also run two-year versions of the programme in some areas. During the first year of these longer programmes, you will have more classroom learning with more limited engagement with employers. This will help you prepare for the full supported internship the following year.
To find out more about our two-year supported internships, please contact the supported internship team in your area.
I have a learning disability but not an Education, Health and Care Plan, can I still do a supported internship?
The government The Government are the people who run the country. The Government decide how much tax people should pay and how things like the National Health Service (NHS) should work. currently requires all learners on Supported Internships to have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
In some cases, we may be able to support you in applying to your local authority for an EHCP.