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Apprentices: Disabled

October 6, 2008

Question written on 06/10/2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what progress has been made in increasing the number of apprenticeship placements available to young disabled people wishing to acquire skills and employment;(2) what steps he has taken to promote the representation of young disabled people in the London apprenticeship taskforce.

Answered by David Lammy

The proportion of young people starting apprenticeships in England who have learning difficulties or disabilities has been around 11 per cent. for the last three years. However, we are seeing increases in the number of young people with learning difficulties or disabilities who complete apprenticeships as a proportion of all young people who complete Apprenticeships. The proportion rose from almost 8.5 per cent. in 2004/05 to 10.5 per cent. in 2006/07.’World-class apprenticeships’ plans to expand the number and range of apprenticeships in England include a number of proposals to increase the take-up and completion rates of apprenticeships by learners who are currently under-represented in the programme. We are developing pilots to begin later this yearincluding a campaign which is London-specificto increase the ‘critical mass’ of learners in non-traditional occupations to encourage more such applications; and mentoring trials to support atypical apprentices through their experience. A national vacancy matching service, to be introduced from the end of this year, will, for the first time in England, provide data on who is applying for apprenticeships that we will use to focus activity supporting employers and potential apprentices where there is evidence that any particular groups of applicants are not being successful in their applications.I chair a London Apprenticeship Task Force whose role includes tackling inequalities. I expect those employers, colleges and partners who are current members of the taskforce to represent the interests of young disabled people as they do for all apprentices and potential apprentices.