Help for young people with SEND to find work

Where possible everybody should be encouraged to have the opportunity to take part in the world of work through paid employment. For some people this may have to be done in small steps: from doing small jobs around the house to help your family. Little jobs around the home are a really good start to develop skills such as following instructions, working as part of a team, focusing on tasks and listening.  

Helping at home is therefore a really good starting point for developing your skills and confidence, and preparing yourself for work experience. 

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Careers advice  

When you have started to think about work and the types of jobs that interest you, it is helpful to talk to someone who is an expert in the types of jobs that are available in your local area, and who can support you in thinking about what might suit your interests and skills best. 

In England, schools have a duty to provide access to independent careers advice from year 8 through to year 13. This could involve information and advice from an external careers advisor, information on college courses, training options, employer visits or signposting to websites/helplines. Colleges are also able to provide careers advice and guidance.  

The following websites can also provide you with some information about careers:  

  • If you are aged between 16 and 25, you can access support and help from an employment support mentor via the Works4Youth service.  They can help you find work, training or start your own business. Contact 01454 865009 or email
  • The National Careers Service provides confidential and impartial advice to help young people make decisions about work and how to find work  

  • Career Pilot is a free online platform offering impartial information about routes to higher-level study in the South of England. It can help you identify your GCSE, post-16 and post-18 options with sections dedicated to a variety of qualifications. They also have details about apprenticeships, job sectors, CV building and how to go about finding the right job for you.  

  • Youth Employment also provides information for you if you are aged 14-24, from early careers advice, choosing study subjects, money matters to your mental health.      

Gaining skills and routes into work 

If you are not sure about finding a job at the moment you may decide to look at developing your skills and experience further. This could be through: 

  • work experience  

  • volunteering  

  • traineeships/internships/supported internships 

  • apprenticeships  

More information is available on our article about work experience, traineeships and apprenticeships.   

The National development team for inclusion website has a guide which provides information about possible routes into work for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The website also gives information and resources about other aspects of preparing for adulthood.  

Help finding a job 

Most young people will visit a Job Centre when looking for a job or search websites and newspapers for job vacancies.  

There are three Job Centres based in and around South Gloucestershire:  

  • Yate ,1-4 North Parade, Yate, Bristol BS37 4AN 

  • Kingswood, 382-386 Two Mile Hill Rd, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 1BZ  

  • Horfield, 1-15 Monks Park Ave, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0UD 

If your disability or health condition makes it difficult for you to attend Job Centre appointments which can be a busy place, you can contact them first to ask what reasonable adjustments they can make to support you.  

You can contact Jobcentre Plus and ask to speak to a disability employment adviser. They can advise you on job seeking, training and new skills, and government schemes. You may also be eligible to support from a work coach. A work or job coach is someone who is employed to help people with disabilities to access work. They can help you in various ways, for example by helping you to learn the work duties, to liaise with the employer to ensure you have what you need to do the job, and helping you to build your skills for the job role. 

When you are looking through job adverts and completing application forms, look for the ‘disability confident’ symbol which means the employer is committed to employing disabled people. 

Employers committing to the Disability Confident scheme promise to: 

  • actively look to attract and recruit disabled people 

  • provide a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process 

  • offer an interview to all disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the role they have applied for 

You can find out more about this scheme on the GOV.UK website

Wecil a local charity based in Bristol run an employment consultancy service to help business think about being disability ready. 

Curriculum Vitae 

Some employers may ask for a Curriculum Vitae (CV).  

The CV gives your basic information and details of your experience, achievements and skills in no more than two sides of A4.  

The National careers service has advice on writing a CV

Employment support  

There are local organisations that you may be able to contact for further help and support they can: 

  • support you to develop your skills 

  • help you write your CV  

  • provide supported employability opportunities  

  • support you to find work 

  • support you to start your own business 

You may need to meet certain criteria to access the local support available or you may have to have an Education health care plan (EHCP) or a social worker in order to access the support.  

Further information about these organisations can be found in South Gloucestershire’s Preparing for Adulthood employment guide

Sixteen supports people with a learning disability and or autism to find and keep a job. They have a trained team of job coaches.   

Sixteen also offers an opportunity for people with a learning disability to use their skills, interests and aspirations to set up and run their own business if self-employment is something they wish to try.    

Wecil a charity based in Bristol are committed to supporting disabled people to find and sustain work if they have the capacity to do so.   

Specialist Employability Support  is a scheme that provides mentoring and training to help you into work if you are disabled. You can apply if you cannot get the specialist help you need from other government programmes such as Access to Work. To apply for an assessment, contact your local job centre plus. 

Further information is available on our article about other government programs such as Access to work and work related benefits.

Employment rights 

It is against the law for employers to discriminate against you due to a disability -  The Equality Act 2010 protects you from this and also states that an employer has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to avoid you being put at a disadvantage in the workplace compared to non-disabled people. 

You can find out more about what the Equality Act says employers must do under this duty on the Citizens Advice website

Read GOV.UK guidance about employing disabled people and people with health conditions

Further information  

There are a number of national and local charities or organisations that have produced other resources of information that you might find helpful.

Disability Rights UK has information about applications and interviews.

National Autistic Society runs employment support services for adults.

Mencap has produced four easy-read guides for job seekers with learning disabilities. The guides cover finding a job or work experience, application forms and CVs, going to a job interview and starting work. 

Scope has employment tips and information about the law that protects disabled job seekers. Support to Work is one of the services Scope offers. It is an online and telephone support programme for disabled people in England and Wales who are applying for jobs.

Remploy is a provider of employment services for disabled people and those with mental health conditions. They deliver a range of programmes and you can chat to an advisor online or contact them by phone or email.