Steps into work

steps into work

This programme gives you the chance to develop your employability skills through work experience and helps to prepare you to look for a paid job. The programme is for people who:

  • Are 16 years or older
  • Have mild to moderate learning disabilities and/or are on the autism spectrum

On the programme you'll complete work experience placements. We'll support you in completing a BTEC Level 1 Work Skills qualification.

There are 24 places each year on the programme. It runs from September to August, Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 15:30.

How to get on the programme

  1. Find out more about the Steps into Work programme below
  2. Fill in the expression of interest form and send it to us
  3. We'll invite you to come to an assessment day at Barnet & Southgate College if you're successful. We'll test your numeracy, literacy and ICT at entry level 3. Specialist job coaches will be there to help. We use the assessment day to decide who will go on to the next stage
  4. We'll invite you to an interview if you're successful at the assessment day. A specialist job coach will be there to help during the interview
  5. We'll choose 24 people to be on the programme after the interviews
  6. Please email or call 020 3054 2718 to request an expression of interest form or for further information about the programme.

How it works

Steps into Work is a three-way partnership between TfL, Mencap (The Royal Mencap Society) and Barnet & Southgate College.

The programme is made up of  three unpaid work placements, mainly in offices across TfL. Those aged 18 or over will also have the option of working as a customer service assistant (CSA) in a London Underground station. This placement also provides an opportunity to gain an NVQ Level 2 Customer Services in the Rail Industry award.


People on the programme will study for a BTEC Level 1 qualification and will be students of Barnet & Southgate College and not TfL employees. The programme (including the BTEC classes) will be based in TfL's offices in central London.

The placement

This is what you can expect from the programme:

  • You'll be one of 24 students, working unpaid, in one of TfL's central London offices
  • You'll complete an induction to working for TfL
  • Placements are split into three, 10-11 week periods. CSA placements are eight weeks long (participants must be aged 18 or over to apply for CSA placements)
  • You'll attend five days a week, Monday to Friday from 10:00 am until 3:30 pm. Each day consists of four hours in your placement and an hour for tutorial with some travelling time in between
  • You'll be supported as you apply and prepare for each placement. The three placements will be spread throughout the year with breaks in between
  • We aim to provide a real life work experience. Roles may be complex but are structured so that people with learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum should be able to effectively complete tasks

Job examples

These are examples of the things you may be asked to do during the placements:

data entry officer


  • Opening and date stamping mail every morning, sorting mail for each department and delivering the mail to the right team
  • Daily scanning of case files and single letters, naming the scanned document and saving the scan to the shared drive on the computer network
  • Filing documents and case files into drawers in alphabetical order
  • Data entry to update personal information, address and department details

Office support

  • Emailing staff about meeting bookings, photocopying and preparing documents, and setting up IT equipment for those meetings
  • Preparing weekly stationery orders and checking office stock levels
  • Assisting with labelling and separating files for archiving, storing and shredding
  • Using the database to create and issue letters


The curriculum is based on the knowledge and skills needed for employment and the work placements involve gaining experience in a real working environment. You will build a portfolio of evidence as a record of learning while working towards the qualification. There are no exams on the programme.

Support and progression

Mencap will provide a job coach to support you during your placements and help with the transition to the Mencap branch at the end of the programme. Mencap will also help you look for paid work.

This programme doesn't guarantee you'll get an interview for a paid role or find a job at the end, but many former students are working in a range of roles in various organisations.