Fylde coast MP hails taskforce to boost disabled apprentices

MP for Blackpool North Paul Maynard has been working on a taskforce to imporve apprenticeship prospects for people with disabilities
MP for Blackpool North Paul Maynard has been working on a taskforce to imporve apprenticeship prospects for people with disabilities
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Disabled people are set to get better help with apprenticeships thanks to work carried out by a Blackpool MP.

The MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Paul Maynard, is celebrating the decision by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to accept in full recommendations made around access to apprenticeships for the learning disabled by a taskforce he headed.

The taskforce was commissioned by the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, and the Minister for Skills, Nick Boles, with the aim of improving access to apprenticeships for those with learning disabilities.

Mr Maynard acted as chairman for the taskforce and working to a “tight schedule”, having first met in May. The group sought input from disability organisations, learning providers, employers, Parliamentarians and officials from both the DWP and BIS.

The recommendations include improving communications and reviewing guidance, a better ‘sale’ of information about available support, adjusting the required minimum standard of maths and English for those with learning difficulties and disabilities, and further work on systems of reasonable adjustments and the availability of support.

DWP and BIS will also lead by example by implementing the recommendations under their own apprenticeship programmes.

Following the acceptance by the two Ministers of the recommendations, officials have already begun to implement them.

A pilot scheme aimed at incentivising employers to take on more disabled people to apprenticeships through the funding scheme is set to start from April 2017.

Mr Maynard said: “I am extremely pleased with the recommendations resulting from the taskforce and delighted that the Ministers have accepted them in their entirety. I believe this forms a positive basis for action and that officials have a solid set of proposals to work with.

“It is equally encouraging to me that the work has already begun and I look forward to seeing what I believe will be improved outcomes, which is, after all, the purpose of this work. I would like to thank everyone who was involved, both in terms of its organisation and the production of these recommendations.”