Apprenticeship employment boost for people with learning disabilities


Mencap is welcoming the Government’s plans to ensure people with a learning disability have equal opportunities to take up an apprenticeship and employment.

Having recently highlighted that just 6% of adults with a learning disability known to social services are in paid employment, Mencap is championing the need for employers to open up their recruitment practices.

According to Mencap, people with a learning disability face a variety of barriers in finding work, including complicated application forms, negative attitudes, regimented interview processes and lack of training and recruitment opportunities. 

Mencap welcomes the Government’s plans to make apprenticeships accessible, including plans to change the English and Maths requirements for people with a disability who also have education, health and care plans.

Ensuring people with a learning disability are able to access Apprenticeships provides a route to work that is better suited to people with a learning disability by giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills.

Despite apprenticeships being a popular and valued route to employment, and despite the fact that young people with a mild or moderate learning disability could or should benefit from an apprenticeship, less that 1% of Apprentices declared a moderate learning disability in 2014/15.

Mencap are eager to highlight that a learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty. People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people, with the level of support required varying from person to person.

Following a taskforce in 2016, led by Paul Maynard, which examined the issues faced by people with disabilities to access apprenticeships, the Government is now pressing ahead to implement all the recommendations.

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of learning disability charity Mencap, said “The introduction of these plans are a welcome recognition from Government that people with a learning disability cannot be left behind when accessing such a vital and valuable route into work as an apprenticeship.

“Lowering the Maths and English requirement for people with a learning disability on Apprenticeships could allow a whole new generation to experience the pride, joy and independence that employment can offer - something that just 5.8% of people with a learning disability currently do”.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke, said “People with a learning disability deserve the same opportunities that others have in every aspect of their lives, including in the workplace. Almost 600,000 disabled people have entered work in the last three years, and we must build on this progress.

 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

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