Support and help for apprentices with a learning difficulty or disability
In order to expand their pool of top available talent and benefit from a workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers they serve, many UK employers offer support and equipment to help apprentices with special educational needs and disability (“SEND”) to do their jobs. This includes making reasonable adjustments during the application and interview process.
Look out for companies displaying the “disability confident” logo on job / apprenticeship adverts. These companies have signed up to the Government led scheme designed to recruit and retain disabled people and people with long term health conditions for their skills and talent. There are three levels of accreditation aligned with bronze, silver and gold standards: committed, employer and leader.
What financial support is available?
Access to Work (“AtW”) funding is available to support apprentices in the workplace providing money towards extra costs, such as travel, specially adapted equipment or support workers. The money does not have to be paid back and is only available for additional costs, not expenses that any apprentice incurs.
To enable employers and trainers to make reasonable adjustments to provide a suitable training and work environment, there is extra funding via the Government and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (“ESFA”) for those employing young people that previously were in care, had an education and healthcare plan (“EHCP”), or require adjustments under the Equality Act.
Making reasonable adjustments
Under the Equality Act (2010) all UK employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for their disabled employees. Whilst it may be unreasonable to expect an employer to install a lift for a wheelchair user, it is reasonable to expect the employer to provide a ground floor office or work space. Other reasonable adjustments may include providing additional time during tests for employees with learning needs or by providing appropriate resources, such as voice-activated software, a laptop or a dictaphone.
Meeting minimum standards in English and Maths.
If SEND prevents meeting the minimum standard in English and Maths needed to obtain the appropriate apprenticeship qualification or entry requirements, there may be some flexibility. Any concerns should be discussed with the training provider who, if appropriate, can arrange an approved assessment.
Finding local opportunities
Local authority websites, in “The Local Offer” section, include details about supporting young people with SEND to get into work, including apprenticeships.
For more information on apprenticeships and why they might be a first-rate option for your child, take a look at The Parents’ Guide to Apprenticeships
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