Bournemouth’s SAMEE (Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship) charity is set to roll out the UK’s first accredited Self-Employment Support Programme to help support people with special educational needs (SEN), not just in Dorset but nationwide.


This brand new, flexible programme, branded as ‘You’ve Got This!’ supports individuals through the development of skills needed to explore self-employment as a viable career option. It has been built on extensive research and co-creation with people recognised as having SEN including those with neuro-diverse challenges.


SAMEE Chief Executive Samantha Everard said; “The inclusive SAMEE Steps into Self-Employment programme has been created to cater for the needs of learners with SEN. As there is no maths and English element associated with the qualification, it’s accessible to all.


This qualification offers a range of support and resources which can be specifically tailored to the individual requirements of each learner, providing solutions which are responsive and in keeping with the already established SAMEE ethos.”


Since 2016, the SAMEE charity has taught self-employment skills to enable disabled adults, particularly those with learning disabilities, to escape poverty and gain independence through successful self-employment start-up.


As Disability Confident Leaders, their unique delivery style is a flexible mix of personalised 1:1 guidance and peer mentoring support.


The SAMEE Steps into Self-Employment has been accredited by the highly respected awarding body NCFE, an educational charity dating back over 160 years.


David Gallagher, Chief Executive of NCFE said “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to help build a qualification with such an important purpose and that has the potential to enable hundreds, if not thousands, of people to start meaningful work.


Through the tough economic times that we’ve started to experience this year with the cost of living crisis, we expect to see some real challenges in the labour market and, as such, self-employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship have never been more important.


This important qualification will provide crucial recognition and a sense of achievement and I am looking forward to working with SAMEE to support and enable learners to benefit from this exciting new programme and to begin a new journey.”


Lea Hampton, Employment and Skills Manager from One Horton Heath, an Eastleigh Borough Council initiative, who has been working alongside SAMEE in the development of the qualification said; “Until now there has been a huge gap in championing self-employment as an option for people with SEN and learning disabilities.  I became involved with SAMEE and the development of this qualification to help address this issue and am delighted that this qualification will now be available to people across the UK.


It will not only help them to gain knowledge of how to run a business from start to end but also help them boost their confidence, improve mental health, gain financial independence and understand what work entails through taking ownership of a project.


It will also provide them with transferrable skills, such as being a team member, leadership, communication, aiming high, becoming aspirational and making a positive contribution.


I’m really pleased to be working with the SAMEE team, they are brilliant listeners, not just to their beneficiaries but also those who collaborate with them to get a good end result.”


Samantha Everard added: “There’s no formal entry requirements for the Steps into Self-Employment programme, the only thing we ask is that learners should possess communication skills sufficient to allow them to address the assessment requirements and be aged 16 or over.


Assessment will be through the production of portfolio evidence, which is presented in the learner’s own communication style and can include visual, play dough, role play and written work.”


The official launch of the Steps into Self-Employment Level 1 qualification will take place in March 2023 with a week-long programme of activities with virtual trainers across the UK and local campaigns across Dorset.


For more information contact Samantha Everard on


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