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Roundtable: The Apprenticeship Levy, An Opportunity for Disability Inclusion?

RIDI is bringing together leading industry representatives to discuss whether the recently introduced apprenticeship levy presents an opportunity to drive greater disability inclusion in the labour market.

There are nearly twelve million disabled people in the UK, but 79 per cent do not have a job and there is a disability employment gap of around 30 per cent. That’s just over two million people. By offering apprenticeships to disabled people, organisations can make their workforce more inclusive by tapping into disabled talent and creating a talent pipeline. This roundtable event, which will be chaired by Paul Awcock, Head of Talent Sourcing, Lloyd’s, will explore whether the recently introduced apprenticeship levy presents an opportunity to drive greater disability inclusion in the labour market. The findings from the event will be used create an industry briefing paper.

Kate Headley, Director of Consulting at the Clear Company and Chair of RIDI said: “While the prospect of an Apprenticeship Levy has been met with a certain amount of hesitancy, particularly from within the recruitment sector, its introduction is likely to have a positive side-effect – offering organisations the impetus they need to look at previously under-utilised talent pools.”

“Specifically, the Apprenticeship Levy can be leveraged to increase the inclusion of disabled talent. While the number of disabled apprentices has increased steadily since 2013, with the number of apprenticeship starters with a learning disability rising from 38,000 in 2013/2014 to 50,000 in 2015/2016, the fact that firms now have cash earmarked for training should further boost this figure.”

“According to data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), HR professionals believe that
disabled employers outperform all other demographics in terms of ‘innovation’ and ‘professional ambition’.”

“We hope that the introduction of the levy gives firms the confidence to reach out to this rich talent pool directly.”