East Sussex Supported Employment Forum (SEF)

The East Sussex Supported Employment Forum (SEF) was set up six years ago by Little Gate Supported Employment.

We commission the forum to support more young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) into employment. The forum brings together local partners and organisations that can do this by developing supported employment pathways.

This includes local implementation of the national Internships Work project.

SEF priorities

Members of the SEF work together to identify local gaps and priorities to create an action plan. The priorities include:

  • shaping good quality routes and pathways that will support more young people and adults with SEND/learning disabilities/autistic people into paid employment
  • identifying, developing, and promoting training and resources that schools, colleges, training providers and employers can access to make meaningful paid work a realistic outcome for all young people and adults with SEND/learning disabilities/autistic people
  • champion better and more effective employer engagement across East Sussex
  • sharing national and local intelligence and updates that will help shape and inform the quality and direction of supported employment pathways.

If you would like to find out more about the East Sussex Supported Employment Forum or become a member, please contact: sef@littlegate.org.uk

Members of the East Sussex Supported Employment Forum include:

  • county-wide supported employment providers
  • local education providers including schools, colleges, training providers
  • voluntary and community sector
  • employer champions
  • local authority including Children’s Services, Adult Social Care, and Skills & Employability
  • employment support services, such as the Department for Work and Pensions
  • careers related services and information advice and guidance
  • parents and carers*
  • clients and service users*

Members will have an opportunity to network, share intelligence and examples of good practice with the forum. They will also have access to national and local updates and training, and play a vital role in shaping the priorities and direction of future meetings.

*To promote collaborative planning, wider engagement and effect change locally, specific forum events and workshops will be aimed at parents and carers and young people and adults with employers. Acknowledging that these key stakeholder groups may need a targeted approach and a different method and means to securing effective engagement/participation.

The East Sussex Supported Employment Forum meets five to six times a year in order to drive forward the 3 year Internships Work agenda but to also establish a more collaborative and coordinated approach post-COVID.

Meetings are both online and in person.

Meeting dates

  • Tuesday 27 February 2024
    10am-12.30pm (online)
  • Tuesday 7 May 2024
    12pm-2.30pm (in person)
  • Thursday 11 July 2024
    10am-12.30pm (in person)
  • Tuesday 17 September 2024
    12pm-2.30pm (in person)
  • Thursday 28 November 2024
    10am-12.30pm (online)

For more information, please contact: sef@littlegate.org.uk 

One of the top priorities of the Internships Work programme is to train all SEND Employment forums to develop, enhance and grow their supported internship/employment offer.

This will support teams to offer high quality supported employment provision and support employers to offer high quality work placements that enable growth in opportunities.

DFN Project Search are providing SEND Employment forums with a free 5-day training package which includes:

  • the principles and benefits of supported internships
  • understanding the employment aspirations and landscape of your community
  • seven step selling process to engaging employers
  • how to build sustainability into your programmes
  • ensuring programmes meet local need.

For more information about this training and national and local dates, please email sef@littlegate.org.uk

Training and resources for employers

Training dates

Terms of reference

Meeting minutes

Meeting minutes are available on request, please contact: 


Transition into paid employment 

From September 2022 to August 2023 we supported 64 people into paid employment:

  • 16 from supported internships 
  • 37 from supported employment schemes
  • 4 from supported apprenticeships
  • 7 from traineeships

Employer Engagement

We worked with 165 employers from 14 sectors:

  •  Health and social care
  • Hospitality 
  • Administration 
  • Tourism
  • Education
  • Manufacturing 
  • Horticulture
  • Agriculture
  • Leisure
  • Animals
  • ICT
  • Creative Arts
  • House Keeping 
  • Retail 

Schools and Colleges 

We engaged with 61 schools and colleges and 38 students enrolled on supported employment provisions for September 2023 to August 2024.