Under the Equality Act 2010 it is a legal duty for all training providers and employers to offer additional support as needed to their apprentice learners with LDDs, and funding is available to cover these costs. The strong push towards inclusivity for apprentice learners with LDDs is positive and much support is available. However there is a noticeable need to instil confidence in providers to successfully incorporate this offer into their training provision.
Support comes in many different forms
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to support for apprentice learners with LDDs. Whatever an apprentice needs to succeed in their apprenticeship should be provided by the training provider or employer*. This includes, but it not limited to:
- Providing assistive technology
- Study skills support
- One to one mentoring
- Communication support
- Providing handouts in larger font or different colour paper
- Extra time to complete assessments
- Changing parts of your job description
Additional Support in the learning environment
When it comes to providing Apprentice Learning Support in the learning environment there are a number of things that an education provider needs to take into consideration. Below we discuss the key considerations training providers need to take when looking at how they operate a well rounded training package for apprentice learners with LDDs.
You can also now access our Apprentice Learning Support Series which discusses topics including: support in practice and access to funding.
- Marketing of Support
The offering of support for individuals with LDDs should form a part of your marketing communications strategy. By raising awareness that support is available as part of the apprenticeship offering, stigma is reduced and an individual is much more likely to make a declaration up front when they feel they may need additional support in which to undertake an apprenticeship.
- Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) and Encouraging Declaration
During any IAG talks whether on a one-to-one basis or in group settings, support should be discussed openly. By discussing the support options that are available you will naturally encourage an individual to declare any difficulties at the outset therefore increasing the likelihood of implementing the most appropriate support in a timely way. This also acts to reduce the stigma around an individual accessing support.
- Assessment referral and recommendations
Once it has been identified that an apprentice requires support beyond that of the £150/month additional learning support fund there is a need to refer the individual for an assessment with a registered Assessment Centre. A Disability Assessor will meet with your learner and have a conversation to understand what support practices will assist them and produce a report with recommendations. Some individuals will have a previous diagnosis in the form of an education health care plan, doctors note or other disability/learning difficulty assessment. This can be used as evidence alongside the assessment in the Individualised Learner Record (ILR).
- Referral to support to specialist human resources
Upon receipt of the assessment recommendations you will need to refer your apprentice learner to the appropriate support. This may be in-house specialist staff or to an external provider. There are benefits to each however it is useful to be mindful that if you are dealing with a number of apprentices with varying LDDs an external specialist provider will have increased access to staff resources with varied skill sets and expertise to suit different learners.
- Administration and accessing funding
When accessing Excess (up to £19,000/year per learner) and Exceptional (above £19,000/year per learner) Learning Support funding streams there is an extra level of administration required. This will be incorporated into monthly activities. Our Apprentice Learning Support Series talks in detail about how these funds are accessed and administered. As an External Specialist Support provider we operate with providers administrative processes seamlessly.
- Planning and Monitoring the support process
Where one-to-one has been recommended the support consultant and apprentice learner will create a learning and support plan to guide the process. Progress and support can then be monitored closely throughout the duration of their apprenticeship. This ensures any issues, should they arise, can be identified and dealt with quickly. It also provides evidence to include in the ILR.
- Recording outcomes
Upon the completion of the apprenticeship outcomes should be recorded and where possible an exit interview will be undertaken. This will assist the learner to consolidate their support progress and look at how they can take the skills and strategies forward in future career and education activities.
Additional support in the workplace via Access to Work
This fund provided by the Department for Work and Pensions is intended to cover the cost of any support needed over and above ‘reasonable adjustments’, which are covered by an employer. The grant is based on a person’s individual needs and can help pay for things such as:
- Special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help do things like answer the phone or go to meetings.
- Help getting to and from work.
This grant does not need to be paid back, and does not affect other benefits for the employer of worker.
Where can I get more support and advice?
Whether you are an apprentice learner, employer or training provider Amano can help. You can watch our Amano Apprentice Learning Support Series now or Contact one of our friendly team today and find out how we can help you access the support you need.
 National Apprenticeship Service ‘The Essential Guide to Apprenticeship Support’