In respect of apprenticeships, we have undertaken a number of actions to improve access to apprenticeships for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We have made British Sign Language (BSL) an alternative to English Functional Skills for those who have BSL as their first language and we have adjusted the minimum English and maths requirements for those who are able to meet the occupational standard of their apprenticeship but would struggle to achieve the regular English and maths minimum requirements.
It is encouraging to see that 36,900 apprenticeships were started by individuals with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in the first three quarters of 2018/9. This is 12.3 per cent of all apprenticeship starts and an increase from 11.5 per cent at the same point in 2017/18.
We continue our work with Mencap and our Pacesetters group, made up of a range of organisations and local authorities to identify what further support we can give those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
With regard to jobs help, we offer a range of programmes and schemes that offer employment support to disabled people. These include:
The Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES) will launch by the end of 2019. It will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people with complex and multiple barriers to work who are at least a year away from moving into work without the support on the programme.
Our Jobcentres offer tailored and personalised support from Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisers, backed by the Personal Support Package which is a 4-year, £330 million package of employment support targeted at claimants with disabilities and health conditions.