Internship & work: eight recommendations by and for students with support needs


Image of Infographic internship and work

08 July 2021

Students with support needs sometimes experience more obstacles in finding an internship or in the transition to work. This could be because you are unsure whether or not you should mention that you have a disability during a job interview or because you are unable to meet the prescribed number of hours for an internship due to an energy restriction. That is why ECIO, Ieder(in), JongPit, LSVB and ISO entered into dialogue with students with support needs.

Together they organised a think-tank on Wednesday 26 May and asked students for input on the theme of work placement and work. During the meeting, the organisations CNV Jongeren, Stichting Studeren Werken op Maat (SWOM) and alumni joined to share their tips and experiences. During the meeting, several recommendations were shared that might help you, as a student with support needs, to make the transition to work or an internship.

The eight recommendations have been compiled in an infographic and we list them below:

  1. Before applying, think about whether, when and in what way you want to discuss your support needs. Ask advice from people you trust, such as a mentor, friends and family, or students in a similar position to yourself.
  2. Has your support request (also) brought you something positive? Share that during a job interview. For example, the strengths you have (developed) thanks to your support question or by approaching it as a strength. Or, for example, share what adjustments you can make to overcome your support requirement so that it does not become an obstacle.
  3. Specify what you need and how your (future) employer can help you with your request for support. For example, the number of hours per week that is feasible for you, or your needs in terms of accessibility.
  4. Make use of organisations that facilitate and support finding an internship and work. For example SWOM, CNV Jongeren, Ctalents, Emma@Work.
  5. Make use of platforms and organisations that bring together students and young professionals with a need for support. For example, ECIO has an online community where like-minded people can exchange tips and experiences. This community is called ‘Experienced Experts studying with a disability or a need for support’ and is accessible via LinkedIn. JongPIT also has an online community on Facebook called ‘JongPIT community’.
  6. Discover for yourself and make use of what you are enthusiastic about and where your talent lies. It is important that your employer sees your qualities, but also that you enjoy your work. So discover for yourself which tasks excite you and where your talents lie, so that you can make extra use of them.
  7. It is important that you feel comfortable with your employer. Trust your feelings and impression of the organisation and colleagues. It may also help to look at the goals and mission of the organisation.
  8. Make use of career counselling services, student advisors and student counsellors at your educational institution. Based on their specialist knowledge and experience, they can think along with you about your specific situation.