Apprenticeships, traineeships or supported internships
Apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships allow you to get work experience while you’re studying. Your time will be split between the workplace – where you can learn key skills ‘on the job’, and with a training provider – where you will study for a qualification.
During an apprenticeship, you'll be employed by an organisation or company and will be entitled to at least the Apprentice National Minimum Wage. This is lower than the minimum wage for other jobs, but some employers might pay more.
As part of an apprenticeship, you may need to do qualifications in Maths, Literacy and ICT, which can be useful for getting a job. Getting experience in the workplace might also help you to develop skills like teamwork, problem-solving, or customer service. These sort of skills are known as ‘soft skills’. In England, if you use British Sign Language (BSL) and you find English difficult you may not need to do English qualifications. You can do a Level 1 or 2 BSL exam instead.
A traineeship (England and Wales only) is a programme that includes a work placement to prepare you for work, or an apprenticeship if you don’t yet have the right skills or experience. You can find more information on the government's traineeship webpages where you can search for traineeships in your area.
Supported internships (in England only, for young people with Education, Health and Care Plans) are like apprenticeships and traineeships, where you spend most of your time in the workplace but you get lots of support to prepare for your work placement.
Supported internships let you learn the skills you need for employment. The Preparing for Adulthood website has lots of information and advice on supported internships.
There are different levels and different types of apprenticeships in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Click the links below for more information on how to find an apprenticeship in:
The apprenticeship that’s right for you will depend on what you’re looking to do and what stage you’re at.
As a deaf young person you have rights under the Equality Act 2010 (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Disability Discrimination Act (Northern Ireland).
This means apprenticeship providers have to be flexible when assessing your application and must not discriminate against anyone with disabilities. Even if you think that some of the entry requirements might be difficult for you to achieve because you’re deaf, you may still be considered.
Some apprenticeships might need you to have a certain level of English for you to progress.
Some apprenticeships might involve tests in literacy and numeracy, and some involve interviews. Training providers and employers must make reasonable adjustments for you. For example, they must include extra time in tests or offer communication support at an interview. For more information, see our section on reasonable adjustments and support at interviews.
You may also find it useful to look at the section on telling employers that you're deaf.
If you've been turned down for an apprenticeship for any reason relating to your deafness, please contact our Helpline for advice.
Your rights on an apprenticeship are the same as your rights in education and your rights in work. Both your education provider and employer are responsible for making sure that you can access your apprenticeship fully. They must make reasonable adjustments. You can also receive funding for support through an Access to Work grant.
If you feel that your apprenticeship provider or employer isn’t giving you enough support, you need to let them know.
Usually, problems can be sorted out by working directly with your apprenticeship provider or employer. Keep a record of what is discussed in any meetings so you can remember what has been said and agreed.
If this approach doesn’t work, and if nothing changes, you could then make a more formal complaint.
Initial complaints should be made to:
- England - Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
- Scotland – Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
- Wales – Department for Children, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCLLS)
- Northern Ireland – NI Direct Apprenticeships Helpline.
You can get further advice and support from our Helpline.