Funding news - 06/07/2012
Government Expands Access to Work Programme for Young Disabled People
Unemployed young disabled people who are on work experience will be able to access extra support to help them into mainstream placements for the first time.
They will be given access to the Government’s Access to Work scheme, which provides more than £100 million to help disabled people into mainstream work by providing specially adapted equipment, support workers and interpreters.
Until now, the scheme has only been available to those in paid work, but the Government has announced today that it will now be extended to those doing work experience placements as well. This will mean more young disabled people can take full advantage of the 100,000 work experience places being offered by the Government each year to help them get the skills they need to find work.
The move follows a review by Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, who produced a series of recommendations on how to use the protected £320 million budget for disability employment programmes differently. The Government has accepted all her recommendations.
Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, said:
"We know work experience can make all the difference for young people out there looking for work and it is just the same for a young disabled person.
"For the first time we are giving young disabled jobseekers the support they need to gain vital experience that will help them forge successful careers for themselves in the jobs they want."
Following Liz Sayce’s review, the Government has invested an extra £15 million in Access to Work to help another 8,000 disabled people in employment. A marketing campaign is also underway to encourage more disabled people, particularly those with mental health conditions and in areas of high unemployment, to find out if they could benefit from the extra cash support on offer through the scheme.
Mike Adams OBE from the Essex Coalition of Disabled People (ecdp) - a disabled people's user-led organisation - will lead the panel. He said: "This is the most radical review of Access to Work in the programme’s history and it’s great to see that the Government has a real commitment to building on Liz Sayce’s work and delivering disability employment support fit for the 21st century."
More information about Access to Work can be found on Directgov: http://www.direct.gov.uk/accesstowork
Source: Directgov, 04/07/2012