Project will help young disabled people into apprenticeships

Angela constance web

​New partnership with Barnardo's and Remploy and Skills Development Scotland is launched

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19th August 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A new partnership project is being launched to increase the number of young people with disabilities entering Modern Apprenticeships.

Skills Development Scotland – the national skills body that manages the programme – is working with Barnardo’s and Remploy on the project.

The apprenticeships are jobs with work-based learning which provide industry recognised qualifications.

Of the 25,000 new Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland each year, less than one per cent has declared a disability.

The recent Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce set out improving access to the scheme as a priority.

Getting into employment is a challenge for many young people but those with disabilities face additional hurdles

Angela Constance, cabinet secretary for training youth and women’s employment, said: “The Modern Apprenticeship programme supports young people with training that helps them develop while in work.

“The Scottish Government recognises the value of the programme and that is why we have committed to providing 30,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts each year by 2020.

“However, we are aware that those with a disability can often find themselves cut off from the labour market and the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce highlighted the importance of assisting disabled young people to access training opportunities such as the Modern Apprenticeship programme.

“This project will help to ensure disabled young people have equal access to Modern Apprenticeships and the chance to make a positive contribution to Scottish businesses and help grow our economy.”

Constance announced the project during a visit to Remploy’s offices in Edinburgh where she met 15-year-old Ronan Laurie who has been supported by Remploy through the employability fund and is completing his Certificate of Work Readiness with Edinburgh-based decorating firm RMB Plastering.

Skills Development Scotland head of national training programmes development, Karen Murray, said: “We know that some groups in society – including people with disabilities – are under-represented in the Modern Apprenticeship programme.

“We want to work with partners and employers to make sure that everyone with different skills sets has the same access to modern apprenticeships and the benefits they provide.

“This project with Barnardo’s and Remploy will see those organisations using their experience of working with employers and disabled people to increase Modern Apprenticeship opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Employers are potentially missing out on a massive pool of talented people if they are not recruiting disabled people – so one of the challenges is to support employers to see the benefits of a diverse workforce.”

“Another challenge is to make sure everyone has the same awareness of and access to Modern Apprenticeships.”

As part of the new approach Barnardo’s will support 40 young disabled people onto Employability Fund and 20 into Modern Apprenticeships.

Remploy will work with 60 employers and training providers to support 55 young disabled people onto Employability Fund or Modern Apprenticeships.

Barnardo’s director for Scotland, Martin Crewe, said: “We are delighted to help deliver this new initiative.  

“Getting into employment is a challenge for many young people but those with disabilities face additional hurdles. With the right support these young people can develop their skills and contribute to the economic success of Scotland.”