From education to employment

Progression to Employment conferences discuss strategies for helping disabled students into sustaina

New strategies for helping disabled students make the transition from education into sustainable employment work came under the spotlight in the Midlands this month.

Remploy, provider of employment services for disabled people, hosted the Progression to Employment conferences as part of a West Midlands Learning and Skills Council-funded project.

Delegates at the Progression to Employment events discussed ways of helping disabled students make the move into employment and how to embed those methods into the agenda in the local area.

A Remploy spokesman said that the national Learning for Living and Work strategy stated that the further education system should not be an end point for learners with learning difficulties but rather “part of a route map to social and economic inclusion”.

Effective transition, based on learners” hopes and aspirations, would help learners participate in meaningful programmes of learning. That in turn would lessen the possibility of them becoming part of the “revolving door” syndrome, whereby students returned to the same provider year after year with very little thought given as to how their learning could support them with progression.

Gareth Parry, Remploy’s Head of Learning, said that in 2005/6 there were 641,000 learners with a disability in the country, only 3,000 of whom received specialised provision.

He said: “It is not uncommon for disabled learners to drift into the further education system, generally in mainstream colleges, and stay there for 5, 10 or even 20 years. Most are not moving onto higher level learning year on year and in some cases learners have even repeated courses.”

He said Remploy was a leader in the field of providing employment services for disabled people and so chose to take the lead in moving the LSC’s agenda forward.

Delegates heard that solutions had to be employer-led and that partnership working was vital. It was agreed that the initiative needed to be built into, rather than bolted onto, mainstream, funded programmes, such as Train to Gain.

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