Career opportunities for people with a learning disability

Written by The CWD Team
Last updated Monday January 4 2021

People with a learning disability are far less likely to be employed compared to the general population; only 6% of adults with a learning disability known to their local authority in England, and 4.2% in Scotland, are in paid employment. People with a learning disability deserve to receive the right support needed to access and maintain a successful career.

There are many barriers faced by people with learning disabilities that prevent them from accessing employment, including:

  • Complicated application forms;
  • A lack of support to build confidence and skills;
  • Negative employer attitudes;
  • A lack of understanding as to what people with a learning disability are capable of doing; and
  • A lack of government-backed initiatives.

All people with learning disabilities deserve the same opportunities that others have in entering the workplace. Everyone should have the confidence, support and resources needed to achieve their goals and reach their future potential. If you or someone you know with a learning disability want to explore your career prospects, it is our aim to compile up-to-date information and support to help get you started.

Education and training opportunities

For people with a learning disability that are keen to gain the skills and experience they need to enter the world of work, undertaking an apprenticeship is a great option.

Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn through working a real job alongside off-the-job training. There is a whole range of sectors that offer apprenticeships, including TV production, public services and health care.

The government recently introduced a new task force aimed at improving the accessibility of apprenticeships to people with learning disabilities. Part of this is through ensuring there is greater flexibility around the English and Maths requirements needed to undertake an apprenticeship for those with learning difficulties or special educational needs.

It is also a requirement for apprenticeship standards and end-point assessments to be adjusted to the specific needs of apprentices with learning difficulties. These adjustments are helping to ensure apprenticeships are more accessible to people with a learning disability.

For more information and to browse the range of apprenticeships offered across the UK, visit our dedicated site on Employing an Apprentice.

Extra support and funding

There is a range of different funding streams available to employers and apprenticeship providers to support apprentices with learning difficulties.

The Learning Support Funding provides a set rate of £150 per month to help employers make reasonable adjustments for their apprentice’s special learning needs. If the cost of an individual’s needs exceeded the £150 set monthly rate, the apprenticeship provider can claim additional funding of up to £19,000 per apprentice. These financial incentives aim to encourage employers and apprenticeship providers to take on more apprentices with learning difficulties, and ensure providers are not deterred by the potential extra costs.

If you are interested in finding out more about the employment options available for people with a learning disability, Careers with Disabilities is the perfect resource. Visit our dedicated guide for disabled people to find out more information, including available grants and schemes.

Last Updated: Monday January 4 2021

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