Taskforce announced to improve accessibility of apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities

It is hoped the taskforce will help increase employment among people with learning difficulties.

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The government has announced a new taskforce to help more people with learning disabilities get into apprenticeships.

The announcement aims to tackle both the government’s goal of three million apprenticeships by 2020, and of halving the disability employment gap.

The taskforce has been created by the Department of Work and Pensions, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Education.

Minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, said: "After visiting Foxes Academy in Bridgewater, a hospitality and training hotel for young adults with learning disabilities featured on Channel 5 in September, I was convinced of the value of a vocational approach and the need for targeted policy intervention in this area. 

"Apprenticeships offer fantastic opportunities for individuals to learn whilst they earn, developing the skills and knowledge they need to progress their careers in a wide variety of occupations and at a range of levels.”

Skills minister, Nick Boles, said: "Our commitment to apprenticeships is giving people everywhere the chance to develop vital skills while working in a real job and being paid. This taskforce will focus on how apprenticeships can be more accessible to people with learning disabilities so everyone can be part of the apprenticeships success story.

Only 6% of people with learning difficulties are currently in employment, according to government figures.

It is hoped that making apprenticeships and training opportunities more accessible will support many more people with learning disabilities into work.

The taskforce will meet three times throughout May and June: once to identify issues, then to explore solutions and finally to form recommendations to make to ministers.

It will be led by Paul Maynard MP and include employers, training providers, charities and educational experts.

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