Taskforce launched amid uncertainty

A new taskforce has been launched, aimed at helping students with learning disabilities access apprenticeships. However, there is no word on who will make up the group, and some observers are concerned.

It has been announced, however, that the taskforce will be chaired by Conservative MP Paul Maynard. The hope is that he will be joined by representatives from employers, training providers, charities and educational experts. However, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted that the group’s full roster was “yet to be decided”, adding that it “will be announced soon”.

Last September the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) proposed changes to apprenticeship funding in response to a government appeal, including more investment aimed towards under-represented groups.


Encouraging signs

Shadow Skills Minister Gordon Marsden said “We have already submitted agenda thoughts for this taskforce.

“These include issues around dyslexia, low current support for disabled people from DWP, and the need for the new Institute for Apprenticeships actively to take up access for disabled groups as a high priority.”

Philip Connolly, policy and development manager for Disability Rights UK (DR UK), welcomed the taskforce’s creation, but said his organisation “would wish to see it have a broader focus that also includes older potential apprentices and disabled people with fluctuating conditions”.