By Daniel Hunter
Disabled people will get more support to gain the skills and experience they need to get a job under changes to the government’s specialist disability employment scheme announced.
Disabled people on traineeships, supported internships, work trials and work academies will for the first time get additional help through the Access to Work scheme — which provides funding towards the extra costs disabled people face in work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment or support workers.
"Young disabled people tell me how difficult it can be to get a job without experience — and they want the same choice of training opportunities as everyone else to help them into work," Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said.
"We’re opening up Access to Work to do just that — so that more young disabled people can get a foothold in the jobs market, get their careers on track and achieve their full potential."
Recent changes also mean that businesses with up to 49 employees will save up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund by no longer paying a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work.
Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance are also eligible for Access to Work funding. Access to Work has previously been called ‘the government’s best kept secret’ so to raise awareness of the changes, the government will continue its marketing campaign — targeted at young disabled people and people with mental health conditions.
Last year the programme helped 30,000 disabled people keep or get employment. Research also shows that around half (45 per cent) of Access to Work customers would be out of work if they did not receive support through the scheme.
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