Last updated: 15 March 2024

Next review: 15 March 2025


A job is when you work for a company/organisation or on a self-employed basis either full time or part time.

To gain employment you normally have to go through a recruitment process. This can include an application form and interview.  Some companies may ask you to do some tests or role plays at the interview. 

Most companies pay you monthly into your bank account. You may get further benefits depending on the company, for example, free dental or health care too.

To find a job you can search online or visit your local Jobcentre Plus.  You can also contact employment agencies and supported employment agencies. These can provide specialist advice to people with special educational needs and disabilities. 

Visit the GOV.UK website to find a job

Download Preparing for Adulthood's Routes into Work guide (PDF)

Access to Work

Your employer must make certain changes (known as ‘reasonable adjustments’) to make sure you’re not disadvantaged when working. These could include changing your working hours or providing equipment to help you do your job. You should talk to your employer about these changes before you apply for Access to Work.

If the support you need isn’t covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work. You can only apply if you're in a paid job or about to start or return to one.

You’ll be offered support based on your needs. This may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace. Your workplace can include your home if you work from there some or all of the time.

An Access to Work grant can pay for:

  • special equipment, adaptations, or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or attend meetings
  • help getting to and from work

You might not get a grant if you already get certain benefits. The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits.

Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition - GOV.UK


An apprenticeship combines education with on-the-job training, so you get experience in a field you’d like to work in. You will gain skills and a qualification.

Find out more about Apprenticeships on the GOV.UK website

Apprenticeships are tailored to specific job roles and enable you to get a qualification whilst working for the company. To apply for an apprenticeship you must be over 16.

Find an apprenticeship - GOV.UK

Levels of Apprenticeships

  • Intermediate Level: equivalent to five GCSEs.
  • Advanced Level: equivalent to two A Levels.
  • Higher Apprenticeships: leading to NVQ Level 4 or above or a Foundation Degree. 

The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £3.90 per hour. This rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.

Apprenticeships are competitive so it's important to research and choose carefully.

Read about the types of apprenticeships.

You can get extra learning support from your apprenticeship provider if your impairment makes it hard for you to follow a particular training programme. The Access to Work scheme can also help fund additional help needed in the workplace.

Supported Employment

In this type of employment, a Job Coach works with you to help you develop the skills and confidence needed for the job. 

In Waltham Forest, this help is provided through Ellingham Supported Employment.

At its heart is the idea that anyone can be employed with the right support. This includes:

  • help to build your confidence and self esteem
  • training, from basic skills to vocational and professional qualifications
  • help to match you with the right job for your experience and skills
  • work trials so you can try a job and gain experience
  • help through the interview process
  • on the job help to guide and support you through the early stages
  • advising potential employers on reasonable adjustments
  • help to keep your job if you become disabled or are finding work a challenge with your existing disability

Find out more about supported employment on the BASE website


An internship is unpaid work experience. Some companies may pay a small amount to cover your expenses. These are usually advertised on company websites.

If your college or work isn’t full-time, there are also Day Activities/Lifelong Learning opportunities to try. See our Social Care section.

Useful pages

Find out more about post-16 choices for young people

Read more about ways into work for disabled people

Supported Internships

Supported internships are aimed at young people aged 16-24 who have an Education, Health and Care plan. The aim of the scheme is to provide extra support to help you move into work. In our local area the organisations that provide this service are:

Mencap Supported Internships
Call the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111

Ellingham Supported Internships
5-11 Ellingham Road Leytonstone E15 2AU
Call 020 8519 5234 or email

Project Search
Whitefield Academy Trust
MacDonald Road, London E17 4AZ
Call 020 8531 3426 or email

Other colleges nearby will also have their own supported internship programmes.


A traineeship is a course with work experience that readies you for  work or an apprenticeship. It can last from six weeks up to one year, though most traineeships last for less than six months. You can apply if you’re:

  • eligible to work in England
  • unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • aged 16 to 24 and qualified up to and including Level 3 (equivalent to A Level)

Find out more about Traineeships on the GOV.UK website.


This is another way of gaining experience in the world of work or you may work part time in one job and wish to gain a skill in another area.  You can volunteer wherever you feel you will get the benefit. 

There are volunteering organisations that you can contact and they will help you find the right company to work for.  Normally when volunteering you can claim back any expenses that you have paid out as a result of your volunteering.  This includes, travel and lunches.

Learn more about volunteering on the Do-It volunteering website.