What can be done to increase the numbers of disabled apprentices?

The latest Open University Access to Apprenticeships 2019 report looks at responses from 700+ employers in a wide-ranging survey. These organisations employ apprentices across a range of sectors.

We know that employers can do more to attract, recruit, retain and promote disabled employees.

Indeed, one area highlighted in the report is the low number of apprentices who have  disabilities. 1 in 5 working age adults in the UK are thought to have a disability. Despite this, the report found that just over 12% of apprentices who started in 2018/19 declared a disability.

Other findings from the report:

  • Although there are several websites and resources that explain adjustments, a lack of understanding from employers remains around this topic. The report highlights this.
  • Many of the employers surveyed stated that they wanted more support in recruiting applicants with disabilities.
  • There is an increase of apprentices reporting mental health conditions.

The 4 recommendations made by the Open University in the report are:

  • Enhance recruitment support.
  • Provide more transparent Information, Advice and Guidance.
  • Simplify the funding and clarify the eligibility and assessment process to ensure every individual receives the support they deserve.
  • Improve education and training for employers.

You can view Access to Apprenticeships 2019 in its entirety here: The_Open_University_Access_to_Apprenticeships_2019

Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, University of Westminster


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