By Tim Chewter, Director of Business Development, Strategic Development Network
Having the right knowledge and resources in place for apprentices who need additional learning support (ALS) is vital to an inclusive apprenticeship programme.
It’s something Ofsted look at closely too. And yet, many providers struggle to adapt their methods of delivery to meet the needs of all apprentices.
Alongside the implementation of apprenticeship standards over the last eight years, and the flexibilities they bring – the government has placed a greater emphasis on widening access to apprenticeships.
And yet, apprentices with additional learning support needs are more likely to drop out before completion and employers miss out on talented, capable, and reliable employees.
So how can you, as a trainer, truly provide equality of opportunity and the right additional learning support apprentice’s need to thrive on their apprenticeship programme?
Declaring a learning difficulty
According to government research, almost one in five (19.5%) of people aged 16-64 years in England have a disability or learning difficulty, yet current data suggests that only about 10% of individuals starting an apprenticeship declare their learning difficulty or disability, or other social and emotional needs.
This suggests that many people with additional learning support (ALS) needs may not feel safe to declare their learning needs. This is why creating a safer environment is so vital.
What you need to consider
The positive impact that an inclusive environment can have on apprentices shouldn’t be underestimated. The physical environment, for example, can create unnecessary barriers so understanding what these barriers are, and how to alleviate them as far as possible will prove to be invaluable.
These barriers may be:
Having the right resources and funding in place
Often, providers do not take full advantage of the funding available to help them support apprenticeships with ALS. The ESFA’s Learning Support Funding (LSF) gives providers additional resource to customise their delivery for apprentices with additional needs. This could include, for example, additional tutoring, specialised learning support or specialist software or IT equipment.
In essence, the funding is available to meet the costs of making reasonable adjustments for apprentices with a learning difficulty or disability where this affects their ability to continue and complete their apprenticeship.
You will also need to consider:
Claim learner support funding (LSF) for your apprentices
You can claim up to £150 per month, per learner, to cover the costs of additional support for apprentices who have learning difficulties/disabilities.
The webinar is delivered by funding specialist David Lockhart-Hawkins and covers: