Hundreds are set to benefit as a scheme that provides financial support towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work is rolled out to cover work experience placements that they arrange from today (9 December 2013).
In a move designed to give disabled people the same opportunities as non-disabled people, £2 million has been set aside through Access to Work to help them take up placements as they prepare to start out on their chosen career path.
Until now Access to Work has only offered this support to disabled people who engage in work experience placements that have been organised through Jobcentre Plus.
Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said:
This is great news for disabled youngsters who need to build up valuable experience in their chosen trade or profession with a view to securing a job.
Most people undertake work experience at some point and it is only right that disabled people have access to the same opportunities as everybody else.
This change will put them firmly in control of their own careers by removing a barrier that prevented them from making their own arrangements in the past.
It is the latest phase of a rollout to the scheme that began in September, when Access to Work was opened up to disabled people embarking on internships and traineeships.
Paralympic double-gold medallist and Goldman Sachs intern Sophie Christiansen, said:
This is great news. Internships, traineeships and work experience are a really good stepping stone into employment.
And both employers and disabled employees learn valuable skills when working together, with less risk involved.
Helping disabled people get onto schemes like this is an important step forward in helping more disabled people into work and in making more employers Disability Confident
Although it is expected that it will mainly benefit younger adults, the latest development is open to everybody who has a disability and needs extra support in taking up a work experience placement.
Access to Work provides financial help towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, such as support workers, specialist aids and equipment and travel to work support.
This latest development further underlines the government’s commitment to help disabled people into the workplace.
Last month the DWP held the first of 9 Disability Confident roadshows for employers, designed to bust myths surrounding employing disabled people, while outlining how their business could benefit by hiring someone with a disability.
Last year Access to Work supported more than 30,000 disabled people get or keep employment.
The latest changes are aimed primarily at sector-based work academies, which offer pre-employment training and work placements in growth industries with a guaranteed job interview, and self-made work trials, which enable disabled people to set up their own trial with a local employer if there is a realistic prospect of a job at the end of it.
Supported internships are a Department for Education initiative aimed at young people who have complex learning difficulties. They provide a structured learning programme at an employer that is tailored to their individual needs.
Traineeships are a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills programme supporting youngsters, including disabled people, to develop the skills they need to secure employment, including gaining apprenticeships.
The “disability pound” is worth £80 billion to the GB economy, and 1 in 5 customers are likely to be disabled.
There are about 3.6 million disabled people currently not in work.
The employment rates for disabled people have increased gradually over the last 10 years, from 44.5% in 2002 to 48.9% in 2012.
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