Improve your business by hiring an intern today!

This week we are celebrating National Supported Internship Day and Autism Acceptance Week by encouraging local businesses to hire an intern as part of a Council run employment project aimed at residents with SEND (special educational needs and disability). 

In partnership with Project SEARCH, a national programme which helps young people with SEND develop real work skills, the Council’s six-month internship programme offers valuable work experience and a successful pathway into employment.

Last year over 80% of interns from the Council's employment programme for SEND residents went on to gain full-time jobs.

Hiring an intern allows businesses to improve their disability inclusion and create a workforce that is reflective of their customer base. Research shows that employees with SEND are proven to be punctual, stay at jobs longer, take less sick leave and are known for being dedicated workers with a unique range of skills. 

How does the supported internship programme work?

  • Supported interns are 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.
  • The internships are six-month long structured, work-based study programmes within an organisation, guided by a dedicated external employment coach.
  • The core aim of the programme is to help interns develop skills and confidence that will help them secure full time employment.

Why should I hire a supported intern? 

  • Gain a dedicated worker with a unique set of skills
  • Supported interns tend to bring a strong sense of loyalty to the workplace
  • You won’t be doing this alone - our employment coaches will be providing direct guidance to the intern along each stage of the intern.
Caroline Modest, manager at Hackney Works, describes the experience of hiring supported intern, Blessing Pombolo:

The experience allowed me to widen my knowledge and perception of individuals with SEND and to look outside of the box and look at the individual in their own right. Everyone deserves an opportunity to grow and develop.

Kevin, a current intern at the Homerton Hospital, described his experience of the programme and the impact on his professional growth:

I have really enjoyed being able to work on myself and being able to try new things. It has felt really good seeing my confidence in myself and my abilities grow. I have been able to massively improve my communication skills when it comes to speaking with people that I am unfamiliar with as well as speaking.

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources

Our supported internship programme with Project SEARCH is an important and successful route into long term employment for our SEND residents. Since the programme started in 2018, we have welcomed 55 interns with half going on to be hired by their team and many others gaining full-time employment elsewhere. 

As a Council, our focus is on bridging the disability employment gap by fostering a diverse and representative workforce for the borough. Our interns are highly motivated and continue to demonstrate their enthusiasm to learn and their value to any team they work with. I encourage local businesses to learn more about the programme and the tremendous benefits it offers to both interns and employers alike.

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources

If you are interested in welcoming dedicated and skilled interns to your team, please email: anna-renee.paisley@hackney.gov.uk