From education to employment

Supporting Autistic Individuals into Apprenticeships this National Apprenticeship Week 2022

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships. National Apprenticeships Week brings together employers and apprentices to highlight the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, employers and the wider community.

Supporting Autistic Individuals into Apprenticeships

The Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN), in partnership with education provider NCFE, have been working on a project to help support autistic individuals into apprenticeships.  

Anne Gornall, Executive Director at GMLPN says:

“It’s great to be working in partnership with NCFE on this important project to support Autistic Individuals into apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the successes of the project! There are many barriers that Autistic Individuals face when it comes to employment, and apprenticeships are great way to start their career as they will receive support from not only their employer but also their Training Provider.”

The project aims to:

  • Work with Training Providers to deliver a training and mentoring programme, which will embed both technical and employability skills to support autistic individuals to progress on to an Apprenticeship (or other best next steps)
  • Inform Training Providers, Employers and Referral Agencies on how best to support autistic individuals through the development of toolkits and capacity building services
  • Prove an effective model and provide and evidence base of the impact on learners and employers making the case to key stakeholders. Garnering the support of other stakeholders for the level of funding required to ensure an inclusive funding policy that enables progression for autistic learners and a return on investment

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2022

The project has raised awareness of the potential and talent of autistic individuals and the support that can be given to help them to prosper in apprenticeships. Since launch the project has:

  • Welcomed 22 referrals who are in various stages of the process
  • Created toolkits based on shared best practice and research for Training Providers, Employers and Referral Agencies
  • In May 2021 the project facilitated a Professional Exchange meeting where individuals came together to discuss challenges and welcome input from JCP, a provider’s perspective from the Growth Company and an autistic individual
  • Identified some of the key challenges autistic individuals face such as EPA, anxiety and geographical issues
    • Developed an EPA Feedback paper based on research and feedback from stakeholders. This paper has gone to key decision makers such as the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education
  • The project has started to develop an online community focused on Autism and Apprenticeships that will be launched soon

Dawn Baker, Director of Innovation and Investments at NCFE says:

“National Apprenticeship Week is an important opportunity to celebrate the fantastic impact that apprenticeships can have of the lives of apprentices, and the wider community. Through our work with GMLPN we have seen first-hand the essential role that apprenticeships can play in supporting Autistic Individuals to enter and succeed within the workplace. We want to use the platform provided by National Apprenticeship week to thank the sector for supporting the important work we’re doing and celebrate the success of the project.”

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