The law says that all young people must be in education or training until at least their eighteenth birthday. This might be:

Supported internships

Supported internships are for young people with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) aged from 16 to 24 who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

A supported internship is a type of study programme that helps young people with SEND to learn the skills they need to get a job they can keep. What makes it different is that  young people do most of their learning at work on the job. 

Young people follow a personalised study programme while working for an employer. They can work towards getting qualifications that are relevant to their role, as well as English and maths.

What a supported internship involves

A supported internship will last at least 6 months. Young people won't get paid, but they should be ready to find a paid job at the end because of the skills they gain. 

A supported internship is personalised to the needs of your child. They don't need any qualifications to do one, but commitment to find paid employment is very important.

Your child may also study for qualifications that will help them move into work, as well as English and maths if they don't have a grade C or 4 at GCSE.

Find out more about supported internships on the Preparing for Adulthood website.

Read the government guidance about supported internships.

Where you can do a supported internship in Dorset

Speak to your social worker or vocational support officer to find out where you can do a supported internship in Dorset.

Who can help your child choose the most suitable internship

Your school or college SENCO or careers leader will be able to talk to you and your child to see what kind of supported internship might be right for them.


A traineeship:

  • is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship
  • can last up to 6 months
  • offers young people support to improve their maths and English alongside training

You don't need to have an EHC plan to do a traineeship.

If you do have an EHC plan:

  • it stays with you while you're doing a traineeship
  • the provider of the traineeship will be named in the plan and they must meet the needs specified in your plan

Young people can apply if they:

  • are aged between 16 and 24
  • are qualified below level 3 (below A level)
  • are unemployed and have limited experience

You may be ready for an apprenticeship if you already have some work experience.

Where you can find out more about traineeships

Search for a traineeship near you on the GOV.UK website.

This GOV.UK website also has information to help your child decide if a traineeship would be suitable for them.

You can also contact your local college or training provider to see if they're offering traineeship opportunities. 

Find local colleges in Dorset.



  • generally combine training in a job with study
  • are available at different levels, from level 2 to level 7
  • can take between one and 5 years to complete, depending on the level

Apprentices work alongside experienced staff and earn a wage. 

Apprenticeships and EHC plans

If your child has an EHC plan, they can keep it while they're on an apprenticeship. The provider of the apprenticeship will be named in your child's EHC plan and this will be reviewed at least once a year. 

In some cases, the provider can apply to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) directly for funding, for example, if they can't pay for your child's additional needs through core funding. 

How to apply for an apprenticeship

Your child can apply for an apprenticeship while they're still at school or when they're in college. To start one, they'll need to be:

  • aged 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays
  • living in England 
  • not in full-time education

Apprenticeships are advertised through:

Read the Disability Rights UK guide on apprenticeships for people with disabilities.

Find out more about apprenticeships.

Routes into work

Find more information about routes into work from the Preparing for Adulthood website.

Career advice

Find more information:

You're not in education, employment or training

Find out how we can support you if you're not in education, employment or training.