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HS4LC Skills Bridge offers three targeted programmes for young adults with learning disabilities and autism to achieve independence and employment.

Skills Bridge Programmes 

"Building bridges to employment and independence"​

Our Skills Bridge programmes offer holistic employment and independence pathways for young adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. We have a tiered approach, with a focus on preparation, training and independence.


We recognise that people with learning disabilities and autism typically take longer to learn new tasks but with the right support they can overcome their difficulties and have a better chance of achieving independence and gaining paid employment.


The employment rate for adults with learning disabilities remains at less than 6% nationally and we know that many young adults with learning disabilities would like the opportunity to work so they can lead independent and fulfilled lives; this is why the HS4LC Skills Bridge programmes are so important in order to help young people identify and achieve their aspirations.

HS4LC Skills Bridge offers three programmes for young adults with learning disabilities and/or difficulties.


Below is more information on each of the programmes:


Preparation for Adulthood


Preparation for Adulthood is a bespoke programme built around the four preparing for adulthood outcomes, as outlined in the SEND code of practice.


These are:

  • Moving in to paid employment or higher education

  • Independent living; having choice, control and freedom over your own life

  • Participating in society; having friends and relationships and being part of your community

  • being as healthy as possible


The Preparing for Adulthood programme takes a personalised approach, focusing on the young person’s aspirations and supporting as independent a life as possible. Staff will focus on developing skills that are transferable in to the world of life and work beyond their time at HS4LC.

The programme will include time in our training centre, here learners will participate in small group sessions were they will be working towards independence, work preparation and literacy and numeracy skills. They will also participate in targeted Personal, Social and Health Education and have the opportunity to join sessions with our personal trainer.

Learners will also spend time in our enterprise businesses as a trainee. The Harrogate Chocolate Factory and the Harrogate Chocolate Factory Cafe are social enterprise businesses run by Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre. They operate as real businesses and our young people will gain real work skills under the support of our job coach team. There are various different job roles within the two businesses that learners can gain experience of and opportunities to achieve work based qualifications such as Food Safety and Hygiene, Health and Safety at Work and Manual Handling.

Preparation for Adulthood is a flexible programme, for the majority of our young people it runs as a12 month full time provision that often leads into the Supported Internship programme. However, others may access our PfA programme part time, or over a longer, or shorter period. The vast majority of our learners are funded through Education and have an EHCP, however we are able to offer some part time places on this programme for self-funded or social care funded learners.



Supported Internship

Our Supported Internship is a personalised study programme based both at an employer’s premises and at our training centre. It is designed to enable young people with learning disabilities and/or autism to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for the workplace.

The structured study programme includes on-the-job training, with support from our job coach team, and the chance to study for relevant qualifications, where appropriate.

Job coaches are critical to the success of our Supported Internship programme. They provide in-work support for the intern which over time tapers off as the individual becomes familiar with their role. Our job coaches also provide support to employers, increasing their confidence in working with young people with disabilities and helping them to understand the business case for employing a diverse workforce.

Alongside their work placement, our supported interns will have a personalised programme of study which may include working towards other preparation for adulthood outcomes.

The Supported Internship is a full time 12-month programme for young adults (16 - 25yrs) with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who have completed college, school sixth form or PLP and now want to take steps towards achieving paid employment.


Supported Employment

Our Supported Employment team work closely with local organisations to develop relationships and establish suitable employment opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and autism.

We provide our partner organisations with guidance and advice on employing people with learning disabilities and difficulties. We are able to run disability awareness training and advice on reasonable adjustments. We can also can provide job coach support for employees.

Our Supported Employment programme follows the core values of supported employment, with the aim of placing adults with learning disabilities and autism into paid work in the Harrogate area.

We run a 12-week ‘Employable Me’ programme, these half day sessions build up the jobseekers’ knowledge and confidence to seek paid employment. Opportunities to train and build skills in our enterprise businesses are also available, as well as access to our weekly job shop sessions, where our job coaches can support application writing and CV tweaking!

Access to Work funding is available for job coach support and in some cases, reasonable adjustments, once a jobseeker begins paid work. For more information visit



Our aim is to help young people achieve sustainable paid employment in the future by equipping them with the skills they need to for independence and employment.


For more information on any of our Skills Bridge programmes call us on 01423 593719.