Supported Employment

Each year we aim to support students on personalised learning programmes and Supported Internships to apply for paid work, as appropriate. Between 2019 and 2020, seven of our supported interns progressed to paid work and we continue to support them with their career development.

We also offer Supported Employment services in York, Selby and Scarborough funded through Social Care.

The Supported Employment service is for people who want to be part of a workplace and who want to aim to progress to employment: either paid or unpaid work. The individual will need to have access to a direct payment through Social Care to take up this option.

We have a team of qualified IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) staff to support people with their skills development and with finding and applying for unpaid and paid work.

Our Supported Employment options are:

  • Blueberry Pop Up Shop - retail and customer service
  • Blueberry Garden Care - commercial gardening work
  • Blueberry Co-operative - arts and crafts, up cycling and basic woodwork
  • Blueberry Community Enterprise - options include a range of work activities out and about including leaflet delivery and outdoor maintenance based from Tang Hall Community Centre as well as Blueberry Plant Shop and park maintenance at Homestead Park, in partnership with Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.
  • Blueberry at Woodend Gallery and Creative Space, Scarborough
  • Individual work placements based with partner employers

We offer:

  • the guidance to identify skills and abilities
  • employability skills training
  • supported work opportunities
  • job coaching in the workplace
  • support with applying for work and finding sustainable paid or unpaid work

Through assisting people to apply for Access To Work (a government initiative) we can often continue to coach and support people once they are in employment, as part of a longer term plan to enable people to work more independently.

We are a member of BASE, the British Association for Supported Employment.

You can download our Supported Employment through Social Care brochures here

Employers and Partners:

We are proud to work with a wide range of employers and community organisations. Through these mutually rewarding partnerships, we are able to offer rich, varied and appropriately challenging programmes to our students as well as opportunities for sustainable work activity or paid employment for both our learners and supported employment service users.

We provide real in-work support and a job coach for people on placement, with regular reviews to ensure that the experience is meeting the employer’s needs as well as the individual’s training needs.

We can also support employers by advising on reasonable adjustments.

Blueberry is a member of BASE, the British Association for Supported Employment.

Our partners include:
Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust & Foundation
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
York St John University
City of York Council
Vangarde Retail Park
Family Fund
York Explore Libraries and Archives
York Museums Trust
Simon Baynes Fruit and Vegetables Supplier
Beetle Bank Farm
St Nicholas Fields
Tang Hall Community Centre
Scarborough Museums Trust
Scarborough YMCA
Cober Hill Hotel and Events Centre Scarborough
Scarborough Rugby Club
Scarborough Gardening and Property Service

Would you like to help a young person on their first steps towards working life?

Could you offer a work placement to a Blueberry trainee?

You could:
  • give a young person with a learning difficulty or disability improved confidence and the opportunity to show their abilities
  • gain your business a reputation as a forward thinking organisation with a genuine commitment to equality and diversity
  • develop your staff team
  • make a real difference to a young person’s chances of gaining paid work

Make a difference...

Call 01904 638885 or
for more information and an informal discussion.

Employer Feedback

Read what our employer partners say about
working with Blueberry Academy...

Since joining the Oscar’s team Scott has come on leaps and bounds. He conducts himself in a professional manner and has integrated into the team with no issues. He approaches every task with a positive attitude and is keen to learn new aspects of the job. He is a valued member of our team and we enjoy working with him and watching him develop both personally and professionally

Fern Dunn – Manager,
Oscar’s Wine Bar & Bistro

From the outset we have been impressed and pleased with Martin’s excellent hard-working nature, and his cheery disposition. He is reliable, funny, and very good at his job. Martin really does embody so many characteristics that we look for in our employees; he is optimistic, jovial, polite, positive, committed, and exhibits an excellent competency in his area of work. Martin is truly part of the team here at The Red Goat, and interacts well with customers, junior staff, managers and directors alike.

Nikki - Owner,
Redgoat Climbing Wall

Since starting to partner with Blueberry academy, Jibin has been a core member of our team. On Jibin’s work days the atmosphere in the building lifts, and there’s a sense of fun within the team. Jibin works methodically and efficiently within our packing team, and makes such a contribution to overall happiness levels, we miss him when he isn’t with us. I would recommend working with Blueberry to other businesses within York, as doing so brings a sense of cohesion and team spirit within the company.

Linda Barrie - Director,
Choc Affair

The onsite Faculties Management team at Vangarde Shopping Park has established a partnership with Blueberry Academy to improve employability skills for the learners.

The team enjoy working with the Blueberry learners to promote independence and employability skills. The learners shadow and work along side existing staff learning all parts the work involved, from basic DIY, cleaning the communal areas to full involvement in the many charity and community projects the team undertake. Previous learners have attended presentations for awards which they helped the shopping park to achieve.

Over the last few years, the Campus and Residential Services Team have had the pleasure of working with the Blueberry Academy and their amazing learners. It has been fantastic to see the learners develop their skills – be that with the Portering team or undertaking administrative work for the Accommodation team – but perhaps more importantly see them grow in selfconfidence. A perfect example would be Andy, who has gone from an incredibly shy young man who would barely make eye contact let alone speak to us, to someone who is now a permanent member of the Portering team who happily does whatever task is asked of him and always with a smile on his face! The York St John staff team have also got a lot out of working alongside the Blueberry staff and learners, and are incredibly positive about the whole experience.We are looking forward to continuing to provide work placements for many years to come.

Sue Waller -
Head of Campus & Residential Services,
York St John University

It has been a pleasure to have worked with the Blueberry Academy and we look forward to maintaining the relationship.

Carl Bailey -
Service Delivery manager,
Vangarde Shopping Park

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“I’m not sure that a work placement learner could do the job.”

We aim to make sure that our learners are a good match for tasks before we approach an employer. We always suggest trial sessions. Making reasonable adjustments for a person with a disability means that they can be given the opportunity to do parts of a job.

“What happens if it doesn’t work out?”

We want the best for our trainees and we want to maintain good relationships with employers. If a work placement isn’t working out, the job coach will ensure that it can come to a close on a positive note, and we will support the individual to look for other opportunities.

“I’d love to have someone on placement but time and work pressures make it too difficult.”

We appreciate that it does take some extra time and input to support someone on work placement. Our job coaches are there to provide real, in work support and relieve this pressure on the employer. A trainee doing routine tasks could free up some staff time.

“What about insurance?”

Work placement trainees are covered under Employer Public Liability Insurance.

“What about health and safety?”

Anyone on work placement is covered by the Blueberry Academy’s and the employer’s own Health and Safety policy, plus if we have identified any other areas that need to be considered, Blueberry staff undertake an Individual Risk Assessment for the trainee and provide in-work support as necessary