Finding an Apprenticeship for People with Disabilities 

Written by Calvin Bowers

Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity for everybody, no matter their background or ability. This includes people with visible and invisible disabilities. If you have a disability, you may need to take some extra steps to find and complete an apprenticeship. But don’t let that put you off.

You may have a parent, carer or friend who can help you find what kind of apprenticeship you would like. From there you can search for the right employers for you.

Depending on your disabilities or health condition, you will have different needs and requirements for your apprenticeship. For example, if you have a disability that affects your mobility, you may need to find a sector that doesn’t require any physical activity. Despite many of the stereotypes, not all apprenticeships are in physical roles such as construction or engineering. You could do an apprenticeship in finance, marketing, animal care, or more.

Your Rights as a Disabled Apprentice

It’s important to remember than being employed as an apprentice is the same as being employed in a traditional job, so you are protected by all the same rights. Just like in a standard job, an employer is obliged to make the reasonable adjustments required so that a disabled person or person with a long-term health condition is disadvantaged at work or in the job application process.

This means that when searching for an apprenticeship, you should know that employers can adjust parts of the job to support your needs and that you shouldn’t be put off from applying because of your disability. These include adjustments such as assistive technology, working hours, physical changes to the workplace, etc.

The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people from discrimination of all kind while at work and in a recruitment place. This applies to apprenticeships too. Discrimination includes being let go from your apprenticeship, being mistreated in the apprenticeship, or not being hired. If any of this happens to you while you are doing an apprenticeship, and you believe that it is because of your disability, your employer is acting against the law.

An apprentice employer can only enquire about your disability during recruitment if they need to know to make the process more comfortable for you or if they would need to make adjustments to the role for you.

How to Find Inclusive Apprenticeships

For many disabled people, an essential part of the apprenticeship is ensuring that the employer is inclusive and accepting. This way, you can ensure that your employer will be respectful and accommodating to your disability.

Here are some tips for finding an inclusive employer to do an apprenticeship with:

Speak to Employers Directly

Suppose you have found an employer who offers an apprenticeship you are interested in but are worried about your disability. In that case, you could reach out to them beforehand and ask about their policies for disabled apprentices. This would give you the chance to determine whether you would carry out the role and what adjustments they could make for you.

Access Resources for Disabled Jobseekers

There is a whole host of information and resources to help disabled people and employers understand disability and employment. Our sister website, Careers with Disabilities, has a whole range of information on employment rights, funding and job applications. As well as a disability advice hub that gives detailed information on a range of disabilities.

Explore Forums and Groups for Advice from Applicants with Similar Experiences

LinkedIn is a great place to connect with employees and other disabled people searching for apprenticeships. You could message someone who works for a potential employer and see if they have information about apprenticeships. Although it can be daunting, reaching out to others and asking questions is a great way to determine whether an apprenticeship would suit your needs.

Research Their EDI policy

More and more businesses are expressing their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion commitments and goals on their website. This shows they welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds and abilities. EDI policy often expresses what they can do to make their company more inclusive to people with additional requirements.

If you feel that you need to know more about apprenticeships before researching employers, you could use our search tool to browse over 500 apprenticeship standards.

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Last Updated: Tuesday February 8 2022
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