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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14889: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 27 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what support it offers to help young people with learning disabilities into employment, and what plans it has to extend this.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 8 March 2018

The Scottish Government provides a range of employability support to help young people, including those with learning disabilities, into further education, training or employment, such as: careers advice and employability programmes. Disabled people are also a priority group for our devolved employment services, “Work First Scotland” and from April this year, “Fair Start Scotland”.

Careers Advice Skills

Development Scotland (SDS) has, in collaboration with the Scottish Consortium of Learning Disability (SCLD) and Values into Action Scotland (VIAS), produced material called “My Career Plan” to meet the careers advice needs of young people with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum. My Career Plan is intended to be part of an integrated curricular approach with schools and other partners to prepare young people for transitions beyond school. My Career Plan is now being used by career coaches working with pupils in special needs schools to build their career management skills.

Careers Advisers are trained to support young people with a diverse range of additional support needs through SDS’s Learning and Development Framework which includes an ASN CPD Module available to all.

Employability Programmes

Employability programmes such as: Activity Agreements, Inspiring Scotland’s 14:19 Fund, and the Community Jobs Scotland programme are all open to young people with learning disabilities.

As well as the 12-month, full-time opportunities available on Community Jobs Scotland, there are also part-time opportunities available, specifically created for young people with disabilities, including learning disabilities. Around 45% of the young people taking part in phase 7 of Community Jobs Scotland have identified as either having a disability or with a long-term health condition.

Most of the Ventures supported by Inspiring Scotland’s 14:19 Fund, provide support for young people with learning disabilities. In particular, one of the Ventures is Enable Scotland and its “Stepping Up” programme. Since 2009 this programme has helped nearly 900 young disabled people move into positive destinations of employment (27%), education (52%) and training (21%), whilst also achieving soft outcomes and progression milestones.

In addition to the above employability programmes, the Scottish Government has also committed to developing a Learning Disability Employment Programme.

Modern Apprenticeships

We have provided young disabled people with the highest level of Modern Apprenticeship funding, and will remove the barriers that have previously prevented young disabled people entering Modern Apprenticeships (MA), through the implementation of: The Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland .

Integration and Alignment

We are building a programme of service integration and alignment that will seek to join up public employability services whilst maximising value for money, and which will support those with disabilities and long term health conditions. Since the publication of “A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People” in December 2016, we have taken action to support more people with learning disabilities into work, including: promoting the employment of disabled people to SMEs in Scotland and delivering a disability internship programme with Inclusion Scotland.

However, we know that more needs to be done and since last Autumn we have been engaging with key stakeholders, including disabled people, to hear their views on any further action needed. On 30 April, the Scottish Government will hold a major congress on disability, employment and the workplace where we will set out our initial findings and future plans.

The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability is a key partner in this work. Scottish Government officials are working with them as part of a short life task group on employment and are supporting the development of the programme for Congress.