Essex County Council (ECC) is a Disability Confident Employer, meaning that we have a real passion for ensuring everyone is given an opportunity to succeed. As such, Accessible Apprenticeships form one of Entry to Work’s pathways, as well as over seven other pathways.
We are proud to operate three guaranteed Job Interview Schemes within ECC, disability, veterans and care leavers. This means anyone who identifies as such on their application and meets the minimum criteria of the position is guaranteed to be invited for an interview.
We are fortunate to have the Targeted Employment team who work across the organisation to provide employment support for SEND jobseekers, such as vocational, where their aspirations are heard in order to have a bright ambitious future moving into the 21st century job market. The team’s aim is to bridge the gap between education and employment by increasing pathways and community inclusion.
What is an Accessible Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a real job with training which allows people to earn while they learn, while gaining a nationally recognised qualification.
For those with a current or historic Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), Learning Disability Assessment (LDA) or Statement of Educational Need (SEN) adjustments can be made for both maths and English entry requirements, and working hours/duration of the apprenticeship programme.
Almost all apprenticeship standards can be made accessible and having a disability shouldn’t restrict someone’s employment opportunities.
We caught up with Kerry Conway, ACL Tutor, to ask her why Accessible Apprenticeships are so important.
What is your role?
I work as a Coach with the Accessible Apprentices as part of the Adult Community Learning team, who deal with certain apprenticeships for Essex County Council.
What do you do?
I usually have regular meetings with the apprentices, helping them with their showcase portfolio evidence and helping them prepare for their End Point Assessment with City & Guilds.
Tutors hold college session for the apprentices once a month, which covers the knowledge aspect of the apprenticeship, and helps to enhance their general knowledge too.
I enjoy learning more about how each person likes to learn, as this helps me to deliver a better support programme for them when we’re working together.
We also work closely with their line mangers and support teams too.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I find this really rewarding especially when they get their awards and I have been incredibly proud of their achievements so far.
The accessible apprentices who I have worked with so far have also helped to bring their ‘’lived experiences’’ to the programmes and the teams they work with, which has been beneficial for everyone.
At ECC we are also working to find the apprentice further employment, as they leave their apprenticeship, ensuring it is in an area that they are interested in. For example, we have recently had an Accessible Apprentice who has completed his Customer Service Level 2 and has now been signposted onto a Sports Coaching apprenticeship, to follow their dream of working in this role.
Any apprenticeship we hope will open doors for employment for everyone.
I have seen some of my apprentices go on to management positions and they have brought many new skills to the workplace too.
If you would like to find out more about our Accessible Apprenticeships pathway, please visit the ETW page on Working for Essex or alternatively you can email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get in touch with the Targeted Employment team please email email@example.com