Breaking barriers

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As a coalition of leading independent and third sector providers of children’s services we are delighted to see the publication of the report (4 June) from the commission led by Sir Ian Wood on getting young people into training and employment.

One issue which is of key relevance to us is the recognition in the report of the barriers and inequalities that continue to exist for young people with additional support needs when it comes to accessing employment and training opportunities.

By the time they are 26, young disabled people, for example, are nearly four times more likely to be unemployed than their wider peer group.

In addition, fewer than 1 per cent of those in a modern apprenticeship have a declared disability. Although reliant on self-declaration, this is still woefully low and more can be done in order to promote the rewards of getting these young people, many of whom boast excellent skills, into work and to ensure that they are “work ready” when opportunities arise.

The commission response seeks to address these barriers through a range of constructive recommendations, including prioritising career advice and work experience for young disabled people at school, setting targets for the number of modern apprenticeships going to those with disabilities and encouraging and supporting employers to take on those in this category.

We now await the Scottish Government’s response and hope it can put into action these recommendations, allowing a young person to take control of their own journey towards and into employment.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:

Tom McGhee

Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop

Who Cares? Scotland

Stuart Jacob

Falkland House School

Sophie Pilgrim

Kindred

Sophie Dow

Mindroom

Niall Kelly

Young Foundations