Learning and Skills Improvement Services
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Help to employ more disabled apprentices

Training providers and colleges are being encouraged to consider taking on more disabled people as apprentices.

The Learning and Skills improvement Service (LSIS) is funding two free workshops to explore how Apprenticeship providers and supported employment providers can work together to significantly increase the number of disabled learners enrolling on programmes.

Provided in collaboration with Remploy Employment Services, the UK’s leading provider of specialist employment support for disabled and disadvantaged people, the workshops will tackle the issues that may deter employers and colleges from recruiting disabled people to Apprenticeships.

Research commissioned in 2011 by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and  conducted by Remploy has found that often employers are deterred from employing apprentices with disabilities because they fear health and safety legislation will be onerous, and that providers may also tend to focus on a person’s disability rather than their ability. They also found that there is a concern that disabled apprentices will not complete Apprenticeships and this will affect an organisation’s success rates and targets. The workshops will address these concerns by informing providers about how to: access additional support for Apprentices; use additional funding to support disabled apprentices; use employer engagement strategies for increasing Apprenticeships for disabled learners.

The workshops are taking place on 20 May in Leicester and 23 May in Newcastle. They follow three highly successful workshops held earlier in 2013 in London, Birmingham and Oldham that were fully booked. Despite their popularity and importance these workshops will not continue to be funded by LSIS because of their closure on 31 July 2013, but Remploy is now looking at offering the workshops for a small charge per delegate.

Howard Nelson, a Business Consultant at Remploy said: “Apprenticeships are becoming more popular, but disabled people are not competing on a level playing field. They are encountering preconceptions from employment providers and colleges which are preventing them from benefiting from the opportunity of becoming an apprentice.

“The workshops have proved extremely popular and we really hope to be able to deliver more in the future by charging a fee or by finding an organisation that will provide the funding so they can continue the work that LSIS has made possible.”

Tim Etherton LSIS’s Programme Development Manager, Skills for Life and Employment, said: “LSIS remains committed to providing support to the FE and Skills sector despite the imminent closure of LSIS on 31 July 2013. These two workshops which we are supporting are an example of the legacy which we will leave the sector, and we hope that they are one step towards enabling more people with disabilities to enter employment as apprentices.”

As a result of the workshops Remploy are planning to host a national ‘Disabled Apprentices Conference’ in September 2013. For further information on this and the delivery of future Apprenticeship and disability focused workshops contact Howard Nelson at howard.nelson@remploy.co.uk

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