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Vocational Training

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to ensure that low-incidence sensory-impaired students will continue to be able to access national specialist residential training providers following the introduction of the new contracting arrangements. (323006)

The Government do not prescribe the type of training that should be available to people with specific impairments. However, the new contracts will ensure that this programme will be flexible and tailored to each individual.

We know from evaluation undertaken in 2006 that residential courses tend to exclude some customers, including those who have caring responsibilities. The very limited locations in which provision is currently available exacerbate this. The new contracting arrangements seek to ensure that appropriate support will be available locally to a broader range of customers including women, ethnic minority groups and those who are unable to travel long distances.

However, we recognise that the residential provision is important for some customer groups and so the new contracts will specify that residential training should be available where that is appropriate for the customer.