Apprenticeships offer a real opportunity for young talent who do not wish to go to university, to gain qualifications and training in a work environment whilst earning. An opportunity not to be missed at a time when employment opportunities for young people are so few and far between. Unfortunately Deaf and disabled young people are massively under represented on the Apprenticeships program.
Deaf and disabled talent of every age still struggle to have their skills recognised in every sector of employment opportunity and yet mainstream education has improved to the extent that they are just as likely to achieve good grades at GCSE, A Levels and in their Degrees as all other students. We believe that Apprenticeships offer a massive opportunity to change the equilibrium once and for all by addressing under representation at the grassroots. Employers often talk of skill shortages and yet seldom reach this rich and diverse talent pool when recruiting.
Positive Signs launched the Inclusive Apprenticeships campaign in July 2012, an initiative that aims to encourage more employers and training providers to welcome and support Apprentice applications from young Deaf and disabled talent. NAS and the SFA endorse the campaign; training providers include Elmfield LAC and JTL; major employers we are working with include Barclays, Toni & Guy, Imperial NHS, Tottenham Hotspur, Barchester Healthcare, Royal Borough of Greenwich and Cisco. We are also working with a variety of SME’s and Deaf led businesses.
Employers Schools & Colleges Training Providers Collaboration Partners Deaf and disabled Apprentices
Apprentices need to be 16-24 years old if the Apprenticeship is Government funded. The minimum Apprenticeship wage is £2.60 per hour but employers can of course choose to pay more. Many Apprenticeships ask for a minimum of Grade C GCSE’s in Maths and English. But employers including Barclays and Barchester do not set an educational standard, they purely look for potential. Apprenticeships last for a minimum of 12 months and lead to an NVQ qualification. Apprenticeship hours start from 16 hours but in most instances are between30 to 35 hours per week. Apprenticeships offer candidates a real and valuable career entry and progression path and employers an opportunity to grow their business with fresh young talent on board.
Our aim is to act as a hub for those employers, education/training providers and collaboration partners who recognise that an inclusive talent pool is not only the right way forward but also offers many benefits. We will signpost Apprentices to the Apprenticeship opportunities and work with employers and education/training providers to ensure that their vacancies and services are seen by an inclusive talent pool. We will work with all employers and training providers advising on any support the Apprentices may need in the workplace/learning environment to compete on a level footing and can manage the process for all parties with Job Centre Plus and Access to Work if desired.
www.deafapprentice.com is the hub for the Inclusive Apprenticeships campaign. The website includes Apprenticeship information, supporter recognition and links to advice and guidance portals. To become a recognised supporter is free (we just need a copy of your logo) but you have much to gain as we will highlight your commitment in all our marketing material and press exposure. It’s a win/win situation.
The only thing that young Deaf talent cannot do is hear, there is no reason for that to be a barrier to Apprenticeships.