A broad range of employment support is available to people with disabilities.
Programmes targeted at people with disabilities include:
- The Work Programme – The Government’s mainstream employment programme. Individuals on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) are eligible to join.
- Work Choice – A specialist programme for people with disabilities. Work Choice is a voluntary programme and includes pre-employment and in-work support for people who have a disability and are claiming welfare.
- Access to Work – Provides practical support to disabled people who are in or on the cusp of employment. Funding can be used to help pay for specialist equipment or assistance with travel costs.
- Residential Training Colleges – Provides vocational training and employment support to disabled adults who have very severe barriers to employment.
- Remploy factories – Supported places of work for adults with very severe disabilities. However, direct government funding is being withdrawn with some factories closing down and others being turned into independent businesses.
In March 2012, following Liz Sayce’s review into specialist disability employment programmes, the Government announced that it was going to expand Access to Work using money freed from Remploy factories. The Government has also promised to co-produce with disabled people a clear set of priorities in terms of policy and delivery.
Working closely with the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE), ERSA has called for and won a number of changes to the programme design of Work Choice. This includes developing a wage incentive for young disabled adults and adjusting the length and prescribed hours of Module one.
ERSA members have an opportunity to become involved via our Disability Employment Forum that drives our strategy in this area.