Supporting Employers: Working with Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)


Supporting Employers

Employers play a vital role in ensuring a School, Special School or College offer a careers programme which prepares our young people for the world of work. We know that young people who have had 4 or more encounters with employers, are 86% less likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training) and they are likely to go on to earn 18% more.

Employers who take an active role in the careers process of young people, can realise a whole host of benefits, from identifying a diverse range of skills and abilities they need within their own business, to improving their employee engagement and development. No matter whether you are a small, medium or large enterprise, using this resource will ensure your organisation and employees enjoy a positive and beneficial experience from working with young people with SEND.

If you are hesitant about whether you or your business could offer experiences of the workplace to a young person with SEND, the short videos below highlight the important role employers play in supporting students for adulthood and the world of work.



Written with the input, shared experiences and learning from Employers and Enterprise Advisers, this resource will guide you through the three key stages of engaging with young with SEND.  Employers can follow the stages or dip in and out dependent on their level of knowledge and the stage they are at. 



Stage 1: Awareness and Engagement


It’s important to understand a little about the education and career landscape for young people with SEND, as this really highlights the important role you as an employer can take to improve their positive career outcomes.


The Careers and Enterprise Company’s network is an easy way to get connected and can support in raising levels of confidence amongst employers, as well as opening opportunities to share, learn and collaborate with others, all with the benefit of improving the career outcomes for young people with SEND. 

Whether you’re a small, medium or large enterprise, you’re likely to value, and benefit from, great relationships with your stakeholders and supply chain. The principle is the same when developing a relationship with your local school/college. There are also huge benefits in networking with like-minded employers, charitable and business-based organisations.


This Awareness and Engagement Stage will take you through:

  • The Education and Career Landscape.
  • Role of the Employer.
  • Business Benefits.
  • Engaging with a School



Stage 2: Planning and Implementation


As an employer, you’ll already know that success usually follows great planning and that is definitely the case when planning a work encounter or experience of the workplace for students with SEND. Planning doesn’t have to be resource intensive, but to ensure you maximise the business benefits, following the guidance and tips within this section will ensure you, your employees, the teachers and of course the students, all have a great experience.


There’s a whole host of activities and ways in which you can support students with SEND and this section explores what these are and the level of commitment required. There really is something for all employers to choose from, whether you are an international organisation or a micro-business and it doesn’t matter what industry sector you are in either.



Stage 3: Evaluation and Review


You’ll want to evaluate and review what you’ve delivered, to understand what went well that you will want to repeat and identify opportunities that you can improve on or explore next time. 


Employees have given commitment and effort into delivering a work encounter or experience of the workplace and therefore, it’s important that you take some time to capture and understand how they have personally developed and benefited, the impact the experience has had on them and any ideas they have for continuing your organisation’s support for students with SEND.

Read some thoughts from the former Chair of the CEC Board and Chair of Severn Trent Board, Christine Hodgson below.

As an economy, we face a sobering truth that only 5.9% of people with disabilities are in employment. As employers, we must step up to play our part in creating lasting change. The aim of this guide is to show you that whatever steps you take to support a young person with SEND, no matter how large or small, it can make a significant difference – and there are many ways that you can get started.

At Severn Trent, we are committed to creating an inclusive environment for employees from all backgrounds and circumstances, to be part of our workforce. We are also passionate about developing opportunities for all within our region and are proud of the work we are doing, encouraging applications from ‘cold spot’ areas, and supporting young people with SEND from Hereward College on our employability programme. Over the past five years, Severn Trent has partnered with Hereward College to offer nine-month internships to students with disabilities and additional educational needs. Without these opportunities, these young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than their counterparts without disabilities. Offering real experiences of the workplace can significantly boost their chances of entering paid employment.

Thank you for your support.

Christine Hodgson
Chair, Severn Trent Board

Gatsby BM5, 6
Key stages

Resource 4: Tips for effective communication

This is the fourth resource in our Supporting Employers: Working with Young People with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) collection.

This resource contains tips on how to ensure effective communication when working with Schools, Special Schools and Colleges.  It also looks at some questions you might want to ask to enable you to build an effective relationship. 

Gatsby BM5, 6
Key stages

Resource 6: Guidance on choosing and planning an activity

This is the sixth resource in our Supporting Employers: Working with Young People with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) collection.

This resource takes you through some tips on choosing and planning activity when working with young people with SEND. It also contains useful checklists for when you choose your activity to support its implementation. 


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