The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) has declared the Apprenticeship Levy will offer employers a ‘prime opportunity’ to improve disabled talent pipelines, as a result of its recent roundtable discussion.
Attended by a diverse mix of representatives from both private and public sector companies, key recommendations as a result of the event included: raising the awareness of apprenticeships among those with disabilities, ‘demystifying’ the application process, a stronger partnership between the government’s Disability Confident Scheme and the Institute of Apprenticeships, and a ‘one stop shop’ for guidance around apprenticeships for disabled people.
At present, just 9% of apprentices have a disability and the Disabled Living Foundation claims around 19% of working age people in the UK have a disability; meaning disabled people remain significantly underrepresented at apprenticeship level.
Kate Headley, director at the Clear Company and spokesperson for the RIDI said: “The wider business benefits associated with diverse workforces are hard to ignore. A myriad of evidence points towards the benefits of truly representative teams, namely the advantages of having greater access to different perspectives and sources of information, as well as the obvious perks of having a workforce which is reflective of the communities it serves.”
“Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that people with a disability take less sick days and are more likely to stay with an employer longer than their peers, saving time and money on the costs of recruitment and training by reducing staff turnover.”
However, the RIDI does acknowledge the difficulty for employers finding the appropriate resources and urges recruiters, employers and training providers to work together: “While there is no doubt that access to guidance needs to be improved, there are currently resources available for organisations which are passionate about the inclusion of disabled talent and the wider social mobility agenda – they just need to be pointed in the right direction”, said Headley.
“Long-term, apprenticeship providers and staffing companies must work together to fill the knowledge gap to boost wider inclusion. Meanwhile, organisations which engage with disabled apprentices can create foothold for themselves in the marketplace and establish themselves as a leaders. Together, recruiters, employers and training providers can develop a pathway to help everyone succeed.”
To find out more about the RIDI’s work, click here