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Employment: Special Educational Needs

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 78824, tabled on 3 November 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help support people with special educational needs to get into the workplace.

Answered on

9 November 2022

The Government is committed to supporting claimants with special educational needs move closer to the labour market or into work.

Our new Local Supported Employment (LSE) service aims to help people with learning difficulties and/or autism to find and retain work. It uses the “place then train model” providing individuals with intensive one-to-one support to succeed with an employer. We are working with 29 local authorities across England and Wales to deliver LSE up until March 2025. The aim of LSE is to develop a sustainable model for delivering Supported Employment that can help increase the number of supported jobs delivered by local authorities.

Supported Internships are aimed at helping young people with a learning disability and/or autism who have an Education, Health and Care Plan to gain the work experience they need to move on to employment. Supported Internships usually last for 12 months. Support from a specialist job coach and other costs may be funded through Access to Work if necessary. Whilst the Department for Education lead on Supported Internships, the Department for Work and Pensions provides support through the Access to Work funding.

Additional Work Coach support for health journey claimants is a new Work Coach led support offer, which aims to help more disabled people and claimants with a health condition into, and towards, work. This trial of additional Work Coach support is initially available across a third of Jobcentres in England, Scotland and Wales, with plans for the support to be rolled out to claimants in other areas from 2023. Our Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) role delivers direct support to claimants who require additional work-related support and advice above our core Work Coach offer. DEAs continue to support all Work Coaches to deliver tailored, personalised support to all claimants with a disability or health condition.

People in particular disadvantaged groups continue to benefit from support through the increased Flexible Support Fund and priority early access to the Work and Health Programme. Intensive Personalised Employment Support provision provides highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people who want to work but have complex needs or barriers and require specialist support to achieve sustained employment. Access to Work is a demand-led discretionary grant scheme that provides funding for the extra disability-related costs people have when starting work, or maintaining employment. It can also support disabled people on an apprenticeship, traineeship, or Supported Internship.

We are working with employers to encourage them to become Disability Confident. The Disability Confident scheme encourages employers to think differently about disability and health and to take positive action to address the issues disabled employees face in the workplace.