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Looking for work if you have SEND

Looking for a job

When you’re looking for work, look on adverts and application forms for the ‘disability confident’ symbol.

This symbol means:

  • the employer is committed to employing disabled people.
  • you’ll be guaranteed an interview if you meet the basic conditions for the job

Find out about jobs in your area at your local Jobcentre, you can find your nearest one on the Jobcentre webpage (opens in a new window)

Your local Jobcentre can help you find a job or gain new skills and tell you about disability-friendly employers in your area.

They can also refer you to a specialist work psychologist, if appropriate, or carry out an ‘employment assessment’, asking you about:

  • your skills and experience
  • what kind of roles you’re interested in

Jobcentres will also give you access to a work coach who can help you.

If you have a health condition or a disability that affects your ability to work, you can get assistance and advice on returning to the workplace by speaking to a Work Coach at your local Jobcentre Plus. Whether you have just lost your job or have been out of work for a long time, a Work Coach is trained to be able to help you to find work or to gain new skills for a job. They can help with work preparation, recruitment, interview coaching and even confidence building.

If you are between the ages of 13 and 19 and you have a learning disability, your school is required to offer you career guidance, whether or not you have a EHCP.

The Work Coach can carry out an employment assessment to find out what kind of work would suit you best. By taking an employment assessment, you will be able to more easily identify your strengths and abilities and your Work Coach will be able to create a plan of action to help you meet your employment goals. To take an employment assessment you will first have an interview with your work coach and talk to them about any previous work experience, talents, skills, and your employment goals.

The length of time an employment assessment takes varies based on your individual needs and can last a half a day or longer. After your assessment, you will agree on a plan of action with your Work Coach, which may include training or they could recommend you take part in a programme such as Access to Work, Residential Training or Work Choice. The Work Coach can also provide referrals to a specialist work psychologist, if needed, for a more detailed employment assessment.


Your work coach can tell you about programmes and grants to help you back into work. These include:

(All links open in new window)

Questions about your health or disability

An employer is not normally allowed to ask you questions about your health or disability before they offer you a job.

They can only ask you about this for very limited reasons, for example to:

  • make ‘reasonable adjustments’ - for example if you need a large print version of a test
  • decide if you can do something that is an essential part of the job

If you’re treated unfairly when you apply for a job

Contact the Equality Advisory Support Service if you think you’ve been treated unfairly.

You may also be able to take a complaint to an employment tribunal - you have to do this within 3 months of the discrimination happening.

Last updated: 02/10/2020

Useful links

Supported Employment

Supported employment