Apprenticeships are at the centre of the Government’s drive to help people of all ages gain the skills that employers need to grow and compete. Remploy fully supports the government’s push to make apprenticeships ‘accessible to people of all backgrounds’and we see apprenticeships playing a key part in achieving the Government’s ambition to halve the disability employment gap.*

Although we have seen participation rates for disabled apprentices increased recently, with 50,640 of apprentices in 2015/16 having a learning difficulty or disability, compared to 19,230 in 2005/6, there is still a great deal of work to be done.** National Apprenticeship Week is a fantastic opportunity to take stock and consider a number of practical ways that the Government could broaden access to apprenticeships for disabled people over the coming years.

Extending the Maynard Taskforce recommendations

In 2016, a learning disability and difficulty taskforce, led by Paul Maynard MP, was asked to consider improving access to apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities. Remploy fully supports the recommendations made by the Maynard Taskforce and believes a number of the recommendations could be extended to the benefit of all disabled people.

These are:

  1. Adjustment of the minimum standard of english and maths for all individuals with disabilities, who meet the occupational standard required for an apprenticeship.
  2. The introduction of a pilot to explore the use of apprenticeship levy funding to incentivise employers to recruit apprentices with disabilities and health conditions.

Supported Internships

A second route into apprenticeships are supported internships. Supported internships are: ‘personalised study programmes based primarily at an employer’s premises, designed to better enable young people with learning disabilities to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for the workplace. The structured study programme includes on-the-job training provided by expert job coaches, and the chance to study for relevant qualifications, where appropriate’.***

Last year Remploy and Mencap produced a joint report ‘Raising Aspiration: widening participation in supported internships’ which sets out a model for scaling supported internships.

By Jeremy Driver, policy and public affairs manager, Remploy

* English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision:
**  FE data library: apprenticeships
*** Department for Education fact sheet on Supported Internships: