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Disabled School Leavers: Professional Development

Volume 705: debated on Monday 6 December 2021

5. What steps he is taking to support the professional development of disabled school leavers. (904565)

All children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities should be prepared for adulthood at every age and stage of their education. We committed in the national disability strategy to supporting pathways to employment for disabled learners, including strengthening the supported internship programme and ensuring that traineeships and apprenticeships are accessible.

Bath and North East Somerset Council, together with Bath College and Virgin Care, run a partnership called Project SEARCH to help young people with physical and learning disabilities to develop the skills that they need when they want to access the employment market. I pay tribute to that project, but far too many disabled people nationally face huge difficulties in accessing employment after leaving school and the support that they get at school. Will the Minister support a successor programme to Kickstart that is particularly tailored to disabled young people? Will he make recommendations and work together with colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions?

Our ambition is for every child and young person, no matter what challenges they face, to have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life. We know that with the right preparation and support, the overwhelming majority of young people with SEND are capable of sustained paid employment. So what are we doing? We have a £1.2 million grant to the Education and Training Foundation, a supported internship programme, our work with our DWP counterparts and the adjustments passport pilots. It is all about preparation for adulthood and work.