Enterprise Bill Amendments for committee stage debate
ALLFIE welcomes the Government’s General Election pledge to create 3 million new apprenticeships for young people, and the delivery of that pledge as laid out in the apprenticeship clauses of the Enterprise Bill.
Labour has agreed to table the below amendments to the Enterprise Bill which support ALLFIE’s proposals to make apprenticeships more inclusive of disabled people.
Reasons for amendments
The Government’s consultation on apprenticeship targets for Public Sector bodies states that it is not possible to “ring fence” apprenticeships for specific groups of people protected by the Equality Act. However, ALLFIE believes that public sector bodies (and private employers) must be required to take positive action to increase the uptake of disabled apprentices. This can be achieved by encouraging public sector bodies and employers to use the Equality Act positive action provision that allows them to take positive action to target specific groups such as disabled people as part of their apprenticeship recruitment drive.
We believe that having targets will encourage the Government to consider the barriers that disabled people face in taking up apprenticeship opportunities. The Government recognises the benefits of setting a 20% target of BAME apprentices as a strategy to increase apprentice participation from the black, Asian, minority and ethnic communities in their document ‘English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision’.
Apprenticeships Standards and Equality Issues
At the moment disabled people cannot usually seek an appropriate judicial remedy if they believe the Approved Apprenticeship Standards place them at an unnecessary disadvantage in successfully completing their apprenticeship. ALLFIE does recognise there need to be standards and that on occasion disabled people will be at a substantial disadvantage – such as a blind person wanting to take up an apprenticeship that involves driving. However, we believe that in some situations, reasonable adjustments could be made to a specific standard so that disabled apprentices are not placed at an unnecessary disadvantage.
Government will be required to examine and review their apprenticeship standards using equality principles. Currently the approved apprenticeship standards have minimum qualification requirements on completion of apprenticeship. This has the potential to limit the opportunities for some disabled people. In particular there is no evidence that apprentices need to have minimum stand-alone maths and English/functional skills qualifications in order to become a competent employee regardless of industry.
There needs to be greater opportunity for all apprentices who have successfully completed all the occupational standard requirements to be awarded their apprenticeship certificate, increasing their changes of securing paid employment or to access further and higher mainstream educational opportunities.
Clause 20, page 35, line 29, at end insert—
“(2A) An apprenticeship target shall specify what proportion of the number referred to in subsection (2) is to be applied for apprenticeships for people—
(a) who have been looked after children, and
(b) people with disabilities.”
Clause 20, page 36, line 16, at end insert—
“A9A The Secretary of State’s duty to promote participation of people with disabilities in apprenticeships
(1) The Secretary of State shall encourage employers to take positive action to promote disabled persons to take up approved apprenticeships by using the provisions at sections 158 and 159 of the Equality Act 2010.
(2) The Secretary of State shall review and revise periodically apprenticeship standards (such as Trailblazer Standards) prepared under Schedule 1 of the Deregulation Act 2015 to remove any unnecessary barriers which have or would impede disabled individuals from reasonably successfully completing their apprenticeships.”
To move the following Clause—
“Institute for Apprenticeships
(1) The Secretary of State will establish an Institute for Apprenticeships which shall put in place transparent mechanisms for the approval of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans, and maintain clear quality criteria.
(2) The Institute will use data on the take-up of apprenticeships by employers and the wage returns to apprentices to review the effectiveness and quality of standards over time.
(3) The Institute shall submit their standards and assessment plans for approval to the Secretary of State.
(4) The Board of the Institute shall be broadly based, to take into account the experience and contribution of all interested parties, which will include—
(b) further education providers and colleges,
(d) relevant trade unions, and
(e) local authorities.
(5) The Board of the Institute shall have due regard to the equality implications of their role and functions, and in particular, that in the frameworks and regulations they approve, the need to encourage and expand opportunities for apprenticeships for BAME, people with disabilities and care leavers shall be prioritised.
(6) The Board of the Institute shall prepare a report to Parliament twelve months after the Institute comes fully into operation on the Institute’s activities and progress and thereafter annually, which will include—
(a) responses to any conclusions and recommendations of the select committee with oversight of the Government Department responsible for apprenticeships,
(b) an assessment of the adequacy of its funding and resources from Government,
(c) a report on the progress made in accrediting apprenticeship frameworks, and
(d) a report on the progress made in increasing the opportunities for disadvantaged groups to access apprenticeships under the frameworks.”
For more information please contact
Simone Aspis (Policy and Campaigns Coordinator), Alliance for Inclusive Education
336 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AA. Email: email@example.com Tel no: 0207 737 6030