New report shows the way for Disabled people and apprenticeships

By Disability Rights UK

A new report has highlighted the benefits of apprenticeships for young Disabled people looking to develop their careers.

‘Getting it right for Disabled apprentices’ details the experiences of Disabled people during their apprenticeship. The report is published by the Disabled Apprentice Network (DAN), which is run by Disability Rights UK.

It looks at the barriers Disabled people face when joining and being part of an apprenticeship scheme, and best way for employers and training providers to provide the support they need for them to get the most out of their apprenticeship.

Ellie Martin, a member of DAN, did her apprenticeship in business and administration at Pittville secondary school in Cheltenham. She was then offered a job as a business administrator at the school.

She says that learning on the job really suited her and points out many of her friends who went to university don’t have the same level of work experience as her. She says that if you’re disabled, apprenticeships are a great route for career development because of the flexibility they offer.

“You pick the training provider, the employer and the pathway to go down,” she explained.

The report incorporates responses to interviews and questionnaires from a range of young Disabled people who are members of DAN. They have all undertaken, or are currently doing, apprenticeships across a wide range of disciplines including business management, social care, learning and development, early years and the media.

It explores:

  • Why people choose an apprenticeship
  • How they wanted to be supported by employers and training providers
  • The best way to tackle conversations about disability, impairment and support
  • The importance of language around disability and health conditions for young Disabled people
  • The role and importance of the government’s Access to Work scheme, which provides resources and support for Disabled people who need help to do their job.

Ellie added, “The best thing about being an apprentice is that you are learning valuable skills and earning a wage at the same time.”

The report points out the employment rate for Disabled people is much lower than non-disabled people, and apprenticeship schemes are a key route to improving Disabled people’s career prospects.

Report author Rabia Lemahieu, disability and skills manager at Disability Rights UK said “Apprenticeships are a great way to get young Disabled people into the workplace. If employers and training providers get the support right, apprentices will be able to get the most out of their placements; and that means they come away from the scheme all the better equipped for their future careers”.

Funded by the Department for Education, ‘Getting it right for Disabled apprentices’ has been launched as part of National Apprenticeship Week which runs from 7-14 February 2022. Copies of the report, including an Easy Read summary, are available from the Disability Rights UK website at Disabled Apprentice Network.