From education to employment

NIACE to collate evidence from across the sector regarding disabled staff.

The Commission of Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning, which is to examine recruitment, training, deployment and career progression of disabled staff in lifelong learning in England and Wales, was officially launched this week.

The Commission led by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), will collate evidence from members across the lifelong learning sector, including the DfES, the LSC, Unions, representatives from higher, further and adult education, as well as disabled staff, employers, training providers, professional and advocacy organisations and government. Evidence will be used to acknowledge the impact of disabled staff, the achievements of learners as a result of disabled staff, the positioning of disabled staff in the wider policy context and identifying required improvements.

Policy makers, funders, employers and training providers will receive recommendations and guides on recruitment, retention and achievements of disabled staff.

Leisha Fullick, Pro Director, Institute of Education, University of London, who is chairing the Commission said: “The importance the government is currently according to adult skills means staffing issues for the lifelong learning sector will have an increasingly high profile. It is important that teaching and support staff in this sector reflect communities they serve and a sector so closely involved in promoting equal opportunity for students, also promotes equal opportunity for disabled staff.”

Lee Probert, Head of Equality and Diversity at the LSC, said, “I am delighted to be a Commissioner for this investigation into the employment of disabled people in lifelong learning. We know the complexity of issues around employment of disabled people, I look forward to the findings of the Commission, to improve opportunities in the lifelong learning workforce and to inform strategies for wider employability.”

Christine Nightingale, Development Officer, Health and Disability Equality Team, NIACE, said, “We are extremely pleased to launch this Commission. The recent focus on disability issues has primarily been on learners and students. However Disability Discrimination legislation and duties apply to disabled staff too. Unfortunately evidence shows disabled staff continue to face discrimination and harassment in their working lives.”

Anyone interested in submitting evidence to the Commission of Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning can do so in a number of accessible formats including online at:

Chris Mitchell

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