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The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has recently launched an online employer toolkit designed to help more disabled people gain access to an Apprenticeship, and also help employers gain access to skilled and dedicated workers.

The development of the toolkit was undertaken through consultation with a number of employers including Barclays Bank, Tottenham Hotspur FC, The National Theatre, Novartis PLC, Leicester City Council and Luton and Dunstable Hospital. Each of the employers has hired disabled apprentices and they were keen to underline the key contribution they have had at their workplaces.

Commissioned by the Agency, the toolkit demonstrates the simple and cost-effective actions that employers can take, including around recruitment and ongoing support, to make their Apprenticeship programmes open to disabled apprentices.

There are over 11 million disabled people in the UK, of whom nearly six million are of working age. By hiring and supporting disabled people on their Apprenticeship schemes, employers have found that they are better able to extend the pool of high-quality applicants available to them. Research has showed that the average Apprenticeship in the UK can increase business productivity by £214 each week through increased profits, lower prices and better products, demonstrating that hiring apprentices makes good business sense.

Sue Husband, Director of Apprenticeships and Delivery Services said: “One of my first priorities in my new role is to encourage engagement with employers and employer groups to increase participation in Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

“Disabled apprentices are very much part of the equation, and the Agency commissioned this piece of work because of the value we knew it would offer to employers. We are very pleased with the development of the toolkit, which demonstrates the simple and cost-effective actions that employers can take, both in recruitment and ongoing support, to enable them to open up their Apprenticeship programmes to disabled participants with more confidence.”

Further information on the Employer Toolkit is available at

NIACE is an independent charity which promotes adult learning across England and Wales. Through its research, development, publications, events, outreach and advocacy activity, NIACE works to improve the quality and breadth of opportunities available for all adults so they can benefit from learning throughout their lives.