Access to Apprenticeships is a new report by The Open University (OU) which explores access to, and the availability of, apprenticeships for people with declared disabilities. It is based on the results of a major survey of over 700 large and small employers across England.
Over two in three employers said that hiring apprentices or graduates with a disability is an important priority for them, and over a third had started to proactively recruit individuals with a disability over the past three years. However, many reported challenges in knowing where to turn for information and advice, how to seek any additional funding or resources required, or indeed securing the internal resource required to better support apprentices with declared disabilities (e.g. the training of line managers). The report also found an increase in apprentices reporting mental health conditions.
The publication of this survey seeks to spark a conversation between the UK Government, training providers, employers and charities as to what more can be done to better support apprentices with declared disabilities. The OU is a leading provider of higher and degree apprenticeships and in 2017/18 (the latest figures available), the OU was the second largest HEI provider of higher and degree apprenticeships in England, working with over 400 employers. Providing high-quality and flexible apprenticeships supports our mission and provides life-changing opportunities to help open up education to even more people across the UK.
The survey focuses on employers in England and puts forward recommendations to the UK Government; but as a training provider operating in all four Nations of the UK, we know that many of the themes explored in the report are likely to be relevant across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, even though policy and funding environments significantly differ.
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