Information for Employers

If you are interested in your businesses taking on an intern, please complete our Enquiry Form for Businesses.

Forward2Employment offer a 38-week supported internship that will mirror school terms and start and finish times.  They enable young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace. Interns attend the workplace 4 days a week and spend 1 day a week improving their employability skills and independence skills, however, there is the flexibility to fit your working patterns.

Supported Internships are unpaid, and last for a minimum of six months. Wherever possible, the supported internship programme supports the young person to move into paid employment at the end of their placement.

Alongside their time at the employer, young people complete a personalised study programme aimed to improve their employability and independence skills. Most interns will study for a BTEC in Skills for Life and Skills for Work, as well as Functional Skills Maths and English. If there is a more appropriate qualification that you need the intern to gain then we can consider this as an option, for example, a CSCS card. Young people on a supported internship with a disability or health condition can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions' Access to Work fund.  An Access to Work grant can cover the additional support a young person may need for the in-work element of supported internships, for example:

We will provide you with a fully trained Job Coach who will offer guidance and support to both you and the intern. Interns have the support of a Job Coach from Forward2Employment who will learn the task/tasks alongside the student and then in consultation with you and the intern, will slowly withdraw that support. They work with you and the intern as much or as little as is required to ensure the placement runs smoothly and the needs of both parties are catered for.

Benefits of Starting an Internship Program

Growing your own Talent

For many, the process of recruiting and hiring is a drain on company resources.

Test-drive the talent

It's a human resources reality: A new employee makes a solid impression in the interview, but then just doesn't gel with your current team or your company's way of doing things. Therefore, hiring someone as an intern is the most effective way to evaluate their potential as a full-time employee. When you "try out" candidates via an internship, you make fewer mistakes when it comes to full-time staffing; you avoid the pitfall of training a new person only to find out they're not a fit for your organisation or that the entry-level employee doesn't like the field. Starting an internship program lets you benefit from added manpower, while more accurately assessing candidates.

Increase Productivity

Setting up an internship program allows you to take advantage of extra sets of hands,  help your employees be more productive, prevents them from becoming overburdened by side projects, as well as freeing them up to accomplish more creative tasks, or those who are higher-level will have more time for strategic thinking or to further develop expertise.

Increase Employee-Retention Rate

The proof for the test-driving theory is in the positive employee-retention figures: According to NACE's 2009 Experiential Education Survey, almost 40% of employers reported a higher five-year retention rate among employees they'd hired via their internship programmes.

Enhance Perspective

It's not just the extra sets of hands that make interns advantageous. New people bring with them novel perspectives, fresh ideas, and specialised strengths and skillsets. These augment the abilities of your professional workforce.

Take Advantage of Low-Cost Labour

Interns are an inexpensive resource. You do not have to pay them a salary whilst they are on the programme.

Find Candidates Free-of-Charge

Forward2Employment will match suitable candidates completely free of charge.

Give Back to the Community

Creating an internship program is an excellent way to give back to a community. Offering interns an opportunity not only helps young people in your community get started; it enhances the local workforce as a whole. 92% of consumers interviewed in a large scale study felt more favourable towards companies that hired people with disabilities.

Upskilling your Current Workforce

We will also provide:

Free Disability Awareness Training tailored for your employees: We understand that it can be daunting working for the first time with young people who have a learning disability. It is a very good idea to make sure that employees who will be heavily involved in the internship programme complete a disability awareness training course to help allay any initial concerns and build the confidence and awareness of employees who will play a significant role in your Supported Internship programme. Although you may choose to focus on disability in its wider context, it’s also well worth considering doing some training with a focus on learning disabilities or autism awareness.

Selection Process

You will be fully involved in the selection process and you would be given the final decision on who we place with you. This would include a formal interview where the student would be supported by the Job Coach. Interns will not be selected on academic ability but on social/emotional maturity and independence.

  • Interns should be able to stay in their placements and be able to manage behaviour/emotions with minimal support from work colleagues (Job Coaches would be on hand if needed).
  • Interns will be able to work on simple/repetitive/structured tasks that are real and meaningful with minimal support from work colleagues/Job Coaches.
  • Interns will be able to move independently around the premises.
  • Interns will be able to sustain being part of a team.
  • Interns will be working towards becoming an independent traveller if they are not already.
  • Interns will be able to follow health and safety procedures after induction.

Core Model

Our delivery model is based on a partnership approach between businesses and local SEND schools/colleges.  Forward2Employment is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions through the Access to Work fund, which enables fully-trained and professional Job Coaches to provide individually tailored support to interns.

The SEN provision will provide the students to the business. The business provides work placements for the students in its offices for an academic year.
Interns are supported by job coaches who are funded by Government through Access to Work Results in confident "employment ready" recruits at the end of the supported internship


 A Quote from the Director of IT at an existing business partner:

 " There is so much that I can take from this training and put into place, the training was very informative and focused on how we could change things as a company, I especially liked the video, I am going to show this to our American partners."

How Forward2Employment Can Support Your Business


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Narrator: Recruiting loyal and committed staff can be a real challenge. 

We'd like to propose something new!

Our Supported Internship programme is a completely free service.  It has been designed to help employers like you access a largely untapped local workforce of people that have learning difficulties and/or autism who, importantly, want to work.

These young adults are keen to prove their value to you whilst gaining experience in the workplace and developing the skills to become a successful employee.

At Forward2Employment, we're experts in our field.  Getting to know you, your business and your specific staffing needs is essential, so we can find the right people for you. 

Our relationship is very simple.  There are no costs or contracts between us, or between you and your unpaid intern, as they're still classified as a student and are fully funded.  Nor do you have to guarantee the intern a paid job at the end of their placement.  However, if their placement has been a success, we ask that you consider them for any suitable available roles in your organisation, which is, of course, a winning scenario for everyone.

We're committed to positive outcomes and we'll support your business and the candidate throughout their placement, to ensure a great experience for everyone.  We'll take care of all the paperwork, risk assessments and set goals for the intern.  We'll also provide a Job Coach who'll accompany them and be on hand to support you and your intern throughout the working day for as long as they're needed.

Don't just take our word for it, you'll be in good company...

Steve: The programme has been really successful.  At the end of the first year, we gave two of the interns a full-time contract.  I think they will make excellent employees for Henry Schein and they have a great future.

In the second year, we've extended the programme to include the administrative departments too.

Narrator: From our experience, organisations with a diverse workforce benefit from higher productivity and staff morale levels.  

So, what's not to love?

Contact us now to find our how we can support your business.

Should you wish to find out further information or engage with the programme:


  • Email:  
  • Call: Elizabeth Halton on 01634 683990