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Policy changes could bring more inclusive apprenticeships

19 July 2016

Disability Rights UK has long worked for more inclusive apprenticeships – so that large numbers of disabled people can benefit from the 3 million new apprenticeships the government is aiming for by 2020.

The issue: disabled people are under-represented in the number of people taking up apprenticeships. Barriers to getting involved include rigid expectations for some apprenticeships that people will have good GCSEs in Maths and English (which some disabled people find it hard to secure, even though they would make excellent apprentices) and insufficient support for apprentice and employer.

What we have done: We have analysed policy, met with officials in the Treasury and Dept. for Business, Innovation and Skills, met with the Minister for Disabled People - who set up a short-life group led by Paul Maynard MP on this issue - and given advice to Paul Maynard.

We have also taken practical action: published a guide, Into Apprenticeships so disabled people know how to go about getting an apprenticeship and how others have negotiated support and adjustments and set up a Disability and Skills Unit to promote and share good practice, including through video clips

We are pleased that government has done 2 things in the last few months that should help make apprenticeships more inclusive:

  1. Accepted all the recommendations made by Paul Maynard, including greater flexibility on the English and Maths qualifications
  2. Created an incentive for employers to take on disabled people as Apprentices, by enabling employers to draw down an additional resource from the Apprenticeship Levy for young disabled people with Education, Health and Care Plans

These are important steps in the right direction and we have been pleased to feed into them.

We will be holding an event on inclusive apprenticeships and traineeships in September – watch this space.