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DR UK urges flexible entry to apprenticeships

14 September 2015

Disability Rights UK urges Government to promote flexible entry criteria for apprenticeships, to open up opportunities for more disabled people. This is vital to disabled people’s career opportunities – and will also help Government meet its ambition to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020

 Some disabled people miss out on achieving GCSEs at grades A* to C – sometimes because ill-health means education is interrupted, or adjustments or support aren’t put in place. It is now possible to demonstrate ‘functional skills’ rather than the GCSE results, to get an apprenticeship. This needs to be strongly promoted. We recommend that, to ensure that potential applicants, careers advisers, employers and providers all know of the flexibility to offer Functional Skills in English and Maths, this information should be on all Local Authority ‘Local Offer’ websites, on the National Apprenticeship Service and National Careers Service websites and publications, in provider guidance, information to employers and the Quality statement on apprenticeships.

In our response to the Government’s consultation on preventing misuse of the term ‘apprenticeship’ we say that it’s vital to keep 2 issues separate: the positive intention to protect the ‘brand’ and quality of apprenticeships (so employers don’t call low quality opportunities ‘apprenticeships’); and the entry criteria. The quality of apprenticeships should absolutely not be diluted; but that does not mean inflexible entry criteria. For instance, a student with significant dyslexia may not have obtained a GCSE in English at Grade A* to C, but may with adjustments and support meet all functional skills requirements and be able to complete a high quality apprenticeship’.