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Learning Disability: Basic Skills

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 14 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the availability of literacy and numeracy basic skills training for people with a learning disability who are seeking or are in employment to ensure there are no special needs groups which are excluded from access to basic employment-focussed learning; and if he will make a statement. (138765)

[holding answer 22 May 2007]: All Jobcentre Plus customers, including those with learning needs, have access to a range of literacy and numeracy basic skills training. Jobcentre Plus fund training for customers eligible for the new deal programme or voluntary training funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The new Employability Skills programme, for Jobcentre Plus customers, will be introduced in August 2007 and will target help for customers for whom basic skills are the primary barrier to employment. It will also be possible for customers with learning needs to be referred to have their needs assessed and, if it is suitable, will be able to take up this training. If the Employability Skills programme is not suitable the LSC provider will refer them to other LSC courses.

Customers with a learning difficulty or disability who are registered on a LSC funded literacy and numeracy course are entitled, through the Skills for Life strategy, to free training. People with learning needs and in employment can also access a range of LSC provision either direct or via their employer.

Education and training is a devolved issue and these arrangements for training refer to Jobcentre Plus customers in England only.

We have no plans to review the availability of provision at this time.