DfE tender: Strengthening the Supported Internships Programme

The Department for Education has published details of engagement on a tender exercise for a programme to strengthen the delivery of Supported Internships. Supported Internships (SIs) are a work-based study programme for 16-24 year olds with SEND who have an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, who want to move into employment and who need extra support to do so. SIs are designed to equip young people with the skills they need to secure and sustain employment through learning in the workplace.

The DfE is considering its commissioning approach for the delivery of the 'Strengthening the Supported Internships Programme' contract. We want to build the capacity of the programme and are aiming to double the number of SIs from c.2,250 internship enrolments per annum to c.4,500 per annum by 2025. We anticipate awarding contracts up to a total maximum value of £8,000,000 including VAT:

  • Support to Local Authorities to establish and develop SEND employment forums, including payment and administration of section 14 grants
  • Delivery of accredited job coach training programmes and training in systematic instruction
  • Engaging and supporting employers to offer high quality work placements
  • Establishing a sustainable audit process, to measure the quality of SI provision against a Quality Assurance framework

The presentation slides from this event are attached below.



The Department wishes to assess market capability and capacity to administer and deliver a response. A virtual pre-market engagement event will take place on Wednesday 9 March and further details of the event will be shared with all those who have registered.
Please register an interest in attending (max two per organisation) to: sendbaea.commercial@education.gov.uk by Friday 4 March 2022.

START AND END DATES OF THE CONTRACT: 1 August 2022 - 31 March 2025 (indicative)

This notice does not constitute a call for competition to procure any services for the Department. The procurement of any services will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. The purpose of this PIN is to stimulate early market interest and invite interested parties to take part in preliminary market consultations.

As part of the market engagement, we wish to test views on areas such as:

  • expertise and capacity required to successfully manage this potential opportunity
  • delivery model, e.g. single supplier, consortium, framework, lots, managed service or any other appropriate vehicle
  • mode of delivery to ensure local, regional, and national coverage
  • potential barriers / challenges / issues to successful delivery and potential solutions
  • effective partnership working between employers, education providers, local authorities etc. 
  • other potential opportunities which could be included in this programme
  • key success factors of this programme and how to ensure the greatest positive impact for young people with SEND, their parents / carers, local authorities, employers and supported internships providers
  • value for money