The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has introduced a web-based toolkit that aims to facilitate access to apprenticeships for disabled people. Announcing the news on its website, the Skills Funding Agency noted that the toolkit would also deliver substantial benefits for employers, helping them find skilled and dedicated employees.
The toolkit, developed on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency, demonstrates how employers can open their apprenticeship programmes to disabled candidates. This can be achieved through simple and low-cost steps, including action in areas such as recruitment and support. The project is supported by companies and organisations such as Barclays Bank, Tottenham Hotspur FC, the National Theatre, Novartis plc, Leicester City Council and Luton and Dunstable Hospital. All of these employers have experience in hiring disabled apprentices and each of them highlighted the immense contribution of these workers to their business.
Sue Husband, the newly appointed apprenticeship and service delivery director at the Skills Funding Agency, has made it one of her top priorities to promote engagement with businesses and employer groups in order to boost apprenticeship and traineeship uptake. This strategy also gives a prominent place to disabled apprentices. According to Husband, the creation of this toolkit was largely driven by the belief that employers would greatly benefit from it.
The UK currently has more than 11 million disabled people and almost six million of them are individuals of working age. When companies hire and support disabled people, they greatly boost their access to talented apprentices. As research has revealed, the average apprenticeship adds £214 per week to business productivity, the gains coming from improved profitability, lower prices and better products.