Welcome to Access Southampton

Employment Support for people with learning disabilities

There is lots of support available in Southampton for people with learning disabilities who are looking for work. We’ve put together this guide to help you find out who can help.

Who can help me get a job?

Southampton City Council’s Employment Support Team offer free, 1 to 1 support for people looking for work. We can support you to write a CV, apply for jobs and prepare for interviews. We are also able to help your employer to make adjustments, provide training and we can even work alongside you while you get used to your new job. Find out more about how we can help by clicking here.

Southampton City Council's Employment Support Team offer help, advice and support to people who are disabled or disadvantaged to find work or training

Local Supported Employment

If you …

Have a learning disability or autism

Are aged 18 and over

Claim Universal Credit or are economically inactive

Are known to a team at Southampton City Council (e.g. Adult Social Care, Homelessness, Pathways Through Care etc.)

…then you could be able to get support from our team to find your next job.

We’ll work with you and other people supporting you to make sure everything is in place to help you prepare for employment. Whether it’s job searching, Access to Work, CV writing, careers advice or anything else work-related, we can help.

For more information, please contact Dan who will be happy to have a chat.

Solent Get Into Employment

Solent Get Into Employment provides tailored, flexible 1:1 support to Neurodivergent people, including those who have Learning Disabilities and Autism to gain and retain employment.

For further information call 07855788139 or email mandy.burdfield@southampton.gov.uk 

Learning Disability Employment Service

The Learning Disability Employment Service is for adults with learning disabilities who want to explore paid employment, further education and voluntary work. We also support individuals to increase their independence skills, including travelling independently and community or leisure access.

Age criteria: 16+

Eligibility Criteria: Receiving support from Southampton City Councilís Learning Disability Team

Email mandy.burdfield@southampton.gov.uk

If you are receiving work related benefits like Universal Credit or ESA, you will have a Jobcentre Plus Work Coach who can help you to find work. Find out how to contact your local Jobcentre Plus on the GOV.UK website.

Access to Work

Access to Work can help you get or stay in work if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability. The support you get will depend on your needs.

In this video Diversity and Ability, Disability Rights UK and Evenbreak take you through the process of applying to Access to Work.

Through Access to Work, you can apply for:

A grant to help pay for practical support with your work

Advice about managing your mental health at work

Money to pay for communication support at job interviews

How to apply

Check youíre eligible and then apply for an Access to Work grant.

EquipMe – use EquipMe to find tools and equipment that could help you with tasks and moving around.


EquipMe is a great new guided self-assessment tool that will enable people to purchase equipment and assistive technology to help them around the home. It also provides advice on how to adapt the home and any existing furniture. This is available to all residents, their families and carers.

How does it work?†

  • Choose a topic
  • Answer some questions
  • Receive an online report listing useful equipment and tools.

Visit the Southampton City Council website to access EquipMe.

Supported Internships

Supported Internships are work-based learning placements within mainstream employment settings. The aim is to secure a job at the end of the placement. Placements should last over six months and normally would be at least 20 hours per week.

What are Supported Internships – Easy Read guide from NDTi

To start a Supported Internship, you need to be aged 16-24 and have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP)

Find out who offers Supported Internships in and around Southampton on our dedicated Supported Internships page. You can also sign up to join our Supported Internship Forum!

Read Easy Southampton

Helping adults learn to read isnít just about enabling them to enjoy a good book. It is so much more.

By improving their literacy, Read Easy also helps our readers to improve their employment opportunities as well as their ability to support their families, allowing some to take their first steps out of poverty.

Everyday tasks such as paying household bills, using a cash point machine, reading the instructions on a medicine bottle and doing the weekly shop are no longer overwhelmingly challenging.

Learning to read also hugely increases a personís confidence and can enable them to take a much more active part in their communities and society as a whole.

Find out how to get support to learn to read with Read Easy Southampton:
Read Easy Southampton – ReadEasy

Easy Read Guides

Mencap have created some really useful Easy Read guides that explain the process of looking for paid work. They cover the following topics:

Finding a job or work experience

Application forms and CVs

Going to a job interview

Starting work

You can download the guides and print them off from the Mencap website. Visit the Mencap website by clicking here.

Ambitious Youth Network

Ambitious about Autism has launched the UKís first online platform for autistic young people.

The Ambitious Youth Network will offer autistic young people aged 16 to 25 a safe and moderated online space to help them understand their autistic identity and reduce isolation and loneliness that many feel.? Young people will be able to take part in peer support sessions, share experiences and find volunteering, work experience and employment opportunities. There will also be opportunities for them to work together and campaign for change.?

Find out more: Join the Ambitious Youth Network | Home (ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk)

Safe Places Scheme

The Safe Place scheme in Southampton works with businesses to offer a temporary refuge when a person is feeling unsafe. Within the Safe Places network, the city can offer safety for any adult or young person who feels vulnerable while out and about in public.

Some vulnerable people choose to carry a Safe Places card to contain the contact details of relatives or friends, who can be called for help when they have reached a Safe Place. A person may need help with serious issues such as bullying, harassment, theft and domestic abuse. In situations like this, police may need to be called.

The premises will have a Safe Place sticker on the window or door, that is visible and easily recognisable to the public. Additionally, there is a Safe Place map that shows all the Safe Places in the city. This can be accessed through the free to download ĎSafe Placeí application, or following this link: Southampton Member Scheme (safeplaces.org.uk)

If you would like a Safe Place Card or any further information, please contact safeplace@southampton.gov.uk

Southampton Day Services

Southampton Day Services are Southampton City Council’s in house service designed for those adult members of society who have a level of learning difficulty, physical disability or mental health issues.

Their programme intends to provide a safe environment within the community where new skills may be learned, hobbies encouraged, and social opportunities promoted.

The Service operates both sides of the city: Sembal House (Polygon) & Woolston Community Centre. Each centre has its own program specifically design to provide the life skills required to maximize independence at home.

SDS strive to enable service users to lead full and inclusive lives; to achieve goals set out by the individual themselves, working in a person-centred way that helps them feel empowered and confident within today’s society, achieving the best results.

Find out more: Southampton Day Services

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