Support to help disabled people find work
Disabled people could get more support to gain the skills and experience they need to find a job under changes to the government's specialist disability employment scheme (announced on 16 July 2013).
For the first time, disabled people on traineeships, supported internships, work trials and work academies will get extra help through the Access to Work scheme. This provides funding towards the extra costs disabled people face in work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment or support workers.
Feedback from young disabled people suggests they find it difficult to get a job without experience - and they want the same choice of training opportunities as everyone else.
The idea of the latest changes is to help more young disabled people get a foothold in the jobs market, get their careers on track and achieve their full potential.
The recent changes also mean that businesses with up to 49 employees will save up to £2,300 for each employee who uses the fund. This is because the business would no longer pay a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work.
The government says that last year the programme helped 30,000 disabled people keep or get employment. Research also shows that 45 per cent of Access to Work customers would be out of work if they did not receive support through the scheme.
Other help for disabled people includes Work Choice introduced three years ago. This is a specialist employment programme for disabled people who need more help to find and keep a job.
Critics of government policy say cuts in public services undermine the benefits of programmes designed to help disabled people find work. They also say that disabled people continue to be disproportionately unemployed, compared to the rest of the population.
Acas offers an Equality and diversity advisory service to help employers assess the effectiveness of current policies and practices with regards to disabled workers. Acas experts can help assess the specific needs of disabled employees and advise on what constitutes a reasonable adjustment, ensuring that employers can support disabled staff while remaining fully compliant.
Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.