Apprenticeships are a vital part of the government’s strategy to create a highly skilled workforce and the current programme of reform is designed to ensure that the Apprenticeship pathway has parity of esteem with higher education among school leavers. Apprenticeships for adults are similarly a key part of the government’s Apprenticeship policy – enabling adults to change or develop their careers throughout their working lives.
We are keen that government policy recognises the different needs of those who may be attracted by the Apprenticeship route. The low participation rate of disabled apprentices was identified in the Little Report, which showed that Apprenticeships for adults and young people with a declared learning difficulty or disability have fallen from 11 per cent in 2008–09 to 8.4 per cent in 2010–11.
There are more than 11 million disabled people in Great Britain, of whom nearly six million are of working age. By hiring and supporting disabled apprentices, employers find that they are better able to extend the pool of high-quality applicants available to them, engage with the widest possible consumer base, and have a workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers they serve.
This toolkit is designed for employers that want to develop a more inclusive and accessible Apprenticeship offer. It provides practical information, sources of support and inspirational case studies of employers who have benefited from hiring and supporting disabled apprentices.