Minstead Trust calls for businesses to help tackle learning disability employment crisis

5 January 2024

Minstead Trust calls for businesses to help tackle learning disability employment crisis

Minstead Trust is calling for businesses to join its efforts to address the shockingly low levels of employment for people with learning disabilities through apprenticeships and other placements.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week (5 to 11 February), Minstead Trust is highlighting the successes of its graduates and the positive impact they can have for businesses.

Apprentice roles make a huge difference to the independence and well-being of the apprentice, while also showcasing the vast benefits to current and potential employers.

This is essential, as currently, only 4.9% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment when over 60% feel they could make a real contribution to the workforce.

The Trust works with Smart Training and Recruitment to offer high-quality, Government funded apprenticeships and traineeships to people with learning disabilities from Portsmouth to Poole.

The supported apprenticeship programme takes a comprehensive approach, blending in-person and virtual learning experiences to cater to the diverse needs of its apprentices. Over a period of 12 to 18 months, paid apprentices engage in a structured curriculum focused on their chosen field and functional literacy in English and Maths.

However only 15.1% of apprentices declare a learning disability according Gov.uk reports, showing potential for significant growth in educational and employability opportunities for those with learning disabilities.

Daniel has recently started an apprenticeship

The impact of fulfilling, paid work can be profound, as apprentice Daniel has discovered in the last year.

Daniel has recently been hired as an apprentice at The View café, run by Minstead Trust in the Portsmouth Civic Offices. Speaking about his apprenticeship Daniel said,

‘My best thing to do is be on the till, I’m actually gaining the confidence to till train others as well…It’s definitely helped with my confidence. Everyone here is lovely and supportive.’

Chris Hillman, Head of Employability and Apprenticeships at Minstead Trust explains,

‘In a world striving for inclusivity and equal opportunity, the work delivered by Minstead Trust and our partners at Smart Training only increases in importance.

‘For individuals with learning disabilities, access to apprenticeship opportunities isn’t just about employment—it’s about empowerment, independence, and belonging. It means a chance to contribute meaningfully to society, to pursue passions, and to realise dreams.

‘For an employer, it means finding a uniquely skilled individual who develops into a key, committed member of a growing organisation that is ready to face any oncoming challenges. Inside the workplace, embracing diversity through initiatives like supported apprenticeships enriches cultures, boosts morale, and nurtures empathy.

‘For the wider community, it exemplifies our collective commitment to equity, compassion, and the inherent worth of every individual. At Minstead Trust, we believe that by championing inclusivity and creating pathways to success, we not only transform lives but also enrich the fabric of our society.”

National Apprenticeship Week starts on 5 February. Businesses can find out more about Minstead Trust’s apprenticeship programme with Smart, stories from current apprentices and opportunities for you at https://www.minsteadtrust.org.uk/employability

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