Publication - Strategy/plan

A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: employment action plan

Published: 11 Dec 2018
Fair Work, Employability and Skills Directorate
Part of:

This document outlines the action Scottish Government will take to meet its ambition to at least halve the disability employment gap in Scotland.

A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: employment action plan
Young People and Transitions

Young People and Transitions

All disabled young people who want to work, can

Why is this important?

All young people transition from school and at that time may enter further or higher education, training or employment. It is a critical time for any young person. Most make that transition successfully, but some do not and we know that for this group, including many disabled young people, the absence of the right interventions at the right time can affect their life chances for years to come.

In the context of the labour market, young people are defined as those aged 16-24 years. However Scottish Government provision recognises that, for some disadvantaged groups, there is a need to extend support up to the age of 29. In this plan, young people may include those still at school and starting the process of transition. Disabled 16-24 year olds: have the second lowest employment rate (43.2%) of any age group and the highest unemployment rate (20.8%); and are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled 16-24 year olds.

Some disabled young people report positive experiences in relation to the support they receive. However, from our engagement events throughout 2017/18, we heard from young people, parents, disabled people's organisations, and service providers, that the quality of guidance and support is not consistent and is preventing some young people from fulfilling their potential.

The Seven Principles of Good Transition provide a framework to inform, structure and encourage the continual improvement of support for young people with additional needs between the ages of 14 and 25 who are making the transition to young adult life. Applied consistently, they could transform the lives of disabled young people and their parents and carers.

Improving labour market outcomes for disabled young people could have a significant impact on reducing the disability employment gap. If young disabled people in Scotland aged 16-24 were equally as likely to be in work as non-disabled 16-24 year olds, this would achieve 10% of the employment increase required to halve the disability employment gap.

Case Study: Scottish Government National Internship Programme

Inclusion Scotland has placed 48 interns in the public, private and voluntary sectors through the Scottish Government national internship programme, We Can Work. This includes 12 interns hosted by the Scottish Government itself.

Intern roles are varied, enabling disabled people to gain meaningful paid work experience, and employers to learn more about being inclusive at each stage of employment, from recruitment to in work support and development.

One intern who was employed by Glasgow Clyde College used their lived experience to increase inclusivity and awareness of support available to disabled staff members. The intern developed a staff network, and gathered case studies including one profiling the Principal of the college who is dyslexic. This is one example of how empowering disabled people in your workplace can lead to positive cultural change. The employer said: "Having the intern make these connections with staff, using their lived experience in a genuine and relatable way, was crucial to the success of this work. Staff felt that they didn't have disabled role models, and the case studies we are sharing will increase the visibility of disabled people in our workplace".

Another intern was placed in the private sector as part of a new project being developed to expand the internship programme. The intern had a successful placement with the corporate IT solutions company Sopra Steria. They were given on the job training, and simple adjustments were made by the employer to make sure the intern was given the best possible start in work. They have secured employment beyond the internship period, and their line manager hopes to help them develop a longer term career in the company.

A snapshot of disabled people in Scotland

In 2016, The Scottish Government committed to at least halving the disability employment gap by 2038.

A snapshot of disabled people in Scotland

Disability affects many of us:

  • 1/5 Scots identify as disabled.
  • More than a quarter of working age people acquire an impairment.
  • Average age of acquiring an impairment is 57.
  • Children in families where someone is disabled are more likely to experience poverty.

Halving the disability employment gap could…

  • Increase Scotland's economic output (GDP) by 3.5% in real terms.
  • Contribute to the Scottish Government's aim of Inclusive Growth.
  • Reduce inequalities in our labour market and society.
  • Increase the number of disabled people in work by 130,000.
  • Reduce child poverty.
  • Improve diversity in our workplaces.
  • Reduce regional and sector specific skills gaps.

What you told us:

In discussions with young people, their parents and representatives, you told us that you would like:

  • Greater consistency of support and transition planning for all disabled young people.
  • Transition planning in schools to start earlier.
  • Increased availability of specialist advice and support that addresses the specific needs of disabled young people leaving school and moving into education, training or employment.
  • Greater awareness among those supporting disabled young people of the wider range of employability options beyond college and university.
  • Provision of more effective and relevant work experience opportunities.
  • Guidance for young disabled people and their parents/carers around discussing their support needs with service providers and employers.
  • Greater engagement with parents, carers and education providers to enhance the career aspirations of disabled young people.

Action that will be taken:

On transitions from school, we will:

  • Build on the Seven Principles of Good Transitions, and broader recommendations received from sector experts, disabled young people and their families and carers, and work across government to improve transitions into education, learning and work for disabled young people. This will include considering how we can extend the current public sector internship scheme to see greater use by the private sector.
  • In partnership with disabled young people, the Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group and disabled people's organisations, we will develop employability-specific recommendations setting out how better learning, training and work outcomes can be achieved by disabled young people. Delivered before the end of 2019, these will be aligned to broader action to improve all aspects of transition within education and from education to employment, emerging from Developing the Young Workforce and the Learner Journey Review recommendations.
  • Ensure that work being progressed now through the implementation of the Learner Journey Review - to raise aspirations, improve support and broaden the offer for all young people - has a focus on the most vulnerable groups, including disabled young people.
  • Work with Education Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, Local Government and Skills Development Scotland to build on the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) programme's approach to improve outcomes for disabled young people towards the target to equalise employment rates between disabled and non-disabled young people. This will include:
    • providing enhanced careers information advice and guidance;
    • increasing Modern Apprenticeship participation including by working with employers and those organisations supporting disabled people to access training or work;
    • supporting the DYW Regional Groups to develop actions to support the recruitment of disabled young people; and
    • initiating a practice and improvement evaluation of the equality outcomes in Developing the Young Workforce. Early findings to support policy and delivery improvement will be available from Summer 2019.

On careers information, advice and guidance, we will:

  • Launch a new Careers Strategy in 2019 to align career information, advice and guidance services in Scotland. Enhancing our lifelong careers service, which is responsive to labour market change and user needs, including those of young disabled people making their first steps into the world of work.
  • Work with Skills Development Scotland to:
    • better promote and communicate career options through their activity targeting those with protected equality characteristics, including disabled young people;
    • maximise opportunities to engage with parents/carers, face to face and online, to provide the information they need to: raise aspirations through improved understanding of the breadth of available training, education and employment opportunities; and to support their young disabled people to access these;
    • improve engagement with partners, including schools and parents, to increase understanding of what works in building resilience and aspiration among disabled young people.

To ensure disabled young people's voices inform the delivery of college programmes, we will:

  • Contribute to the work of the Disabled Students Outcomes Group. Set up by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of Lead Scotland, the group will make recommendations on an ongoing basis aimed at achieving parity of outcomes, compared to their peers, for disabled students in Further and Higher Education. The group will directly influence and advise on SFC Local Outcome Agreement guidance and reporting in relation to Disabled Students.

To improve employment support services and access to employment-related funding support, we will:

  • Following the review of employability services, implement a new flexible and responsive employability delivery model, including more effective employment support for young disabled people.
  • Undertake a review in 2019 of Supported Employment provision across Scotland, as part of implementing the employment actions agreed in Scotland's forthcoming Learning Disability Strategy, Keys to Life.
  • Take action to ensure the consistent collection of data to capture the participation of people with learning disabilities in Scottish Government funded employment programmes.
  • Consult on proposals for the Scottish Government's new Job Grant to help support young people aged 16 -24, and ensure access for as many disabled young people as possible.
  • Help to promote Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland's Transition Fund, through education and employability providers, to ensure disabled young people are aware of and encouraged to access support to enhance their independent living, including access to employment.