Apprentices: Care Leavers and Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Emma Hardy Emma Hardy Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the £1,000 incentive payment available to any employer taking on an apprentice aged 16-18, or aged 19-24 with an Education Health and Care plan or care leaver, is also available to an employer taking on such a person on a supported internship.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

It is a priority of the department to improve the outcomes of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice states that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood, including employment, and that this preparation should start early.

Structured study programmes, based primarily at an employer, such as supported internships, help young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to achieve sustainable paid employment through learning in the workplace. In 2017, the government announced £9.7 million for local authorities to increase the number of supported internships and other pathways to employment for young people with SEND, by establishing local supported internship forums and training additional job coaches.

The number of young people undertaking a supported internship has been rising annually. The most recent report was in January 2020 and showed that 2,231 young people with EHC plans were undertaking supported internships, an increase from 1,646 from the same time in 2019 and 1,186 in 2018.

Work is currently ongoing, as part of the SEND Review, to consider how best to continue to boost employment outcomes for young people on EHC Plans.

The £1000 additional payment for employers who take on apprentices aged 16-18 or aged 19-24 who have previously been in care or who have a local authority EHC plan, is in recognition of the additional costs associated with supporting these groups in the workplace. This payment is not available to employers taking on these young people on a supported internship.

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