Supporting disabled children, young people and their families: guidance

Guidance to help improve the experiences of disabled children, young people, and their families.


As outlined in Principles of Good Transitions, there should be one overarching transitions plan, coordinated across services by a lead professional. This section includes information about transitions in employment, however this should be read along with transitions background, adult and social care transitions and further and higher eduction as part of this holistic approach to planning transitions.

Where can I go for information about the options available after leaving school?

Living with a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to moving into employment. Every disabled young person who can and wants to work should have the opportunity to find a fulfilling job, suitable to their skills. Information about the different options and careers advice available before and after leaving school is available at on the MyGov site.  

What if I'm not ready to look for a job?

If you don't feel ready to look for a job, you might be interested in a Learning Agreement or Action Plan. Learning Agreements and Action Plans can help people who need extra support to make a successful transition into work, further education or training.

Participants meet with an Employability Key Worker who can help them to gain new skills and confidence. Key workers can also provide a range of activities and help people get involved in community projects. Financial help can be given to help with the transport costs to training venues and young people may be eligible to claim an Education Maintenance Allowance EMA payment of £30 per week.

To find out more about Learning Agreements, Action Plans or other support available, contact the Employability service at your local council.

Where else can I explore my options for employment?

Employment support varies by local authority area.  To explore what support is available in your area, you may wish to contact your local Department for Work and Pensions Jobcentre Plus office (JCP – 1 below) or the local employability partnership (2) in your area.  Alternatively, you may wish to consider participating in Fair Start Scotland (3), the Scottish Government’s employment support service which is available to disabled people from the age of 16.

  1. Jobcentre Plus. Young disabled people contacting a Jobcentre will have an interview with an adviser to identify any barriers to employment and to understand their individual circumstances. They will then provide advice, signposting and on-going support, and agree an action plan with the young person.
  2. A whole range of local employability support exists across all local authorities in Scotland. Designed to be flexible and based on your needs, it aims to help you access the most relevant support on your journey to work. Your local authority can advise on what dedicated support is on offer in each area, with named contacts available to help you access all that is on offer to best suit your needs.
  3. Fair Start Scotland is an employment support service available across Scotland that offers personalised and flexible support to help unemployed people to move into work. The service is voluntary and is delivered locally on behalf of Scottish Government by specialist providers. Mygov provide a  list of organisations providing Fair Start Scotland.

There are many organisations offering different types of support for disabled people seeking work. Some of these are listed below.

  • Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work resource provides an opportunity to research potential avenues of employment, and although not specifically designed for young people with a disability it can create ideas about potential career paths based on an individual's interests and aptitudes.  Skills Development Scotland can also provide information on national training programmes such as Employability Fund and apprenticeships. They can be reached at the Skills Development Scotland Customer Contact Centre.
  • CONTACT has an employment section providing further information around issues and resources to assist young people in the transition to the world of work.
  • ENABLE Scotland delivers an employability support programme "Stepping Up" for young people aged 14 to 19 who have learning disabilities. This introduces participants to the world of work through a process of discovery and planning for their future, to engagement with employers in real workplace settings.
  • Social Firms Scotland is the national support body for Social Firms in Scotland, a specific type of Social Enterprise where the mission is to create meaningful employment, for people who face significant barriers to work including mental ill health and learning disabilities. Their website has a directory of members who offer training volunteering and employment opportunities
  • Supported Businesses - A Supported businesses is one which has 30% of its workforce either disabled or otherwise disadvantage din the labour market. They offer a supportive work environment for those who would struggle to secure work in mainstream businesses.  You can find a range of Supported Businesses on the Ready for Business website.
  • Supported Employment  - Supported employment is a particular type of support for individuals who may not have worked before to help them progress to employment through a series of activities that help to identify skills and talents. It will help work out what kind of job is right and develop an individual support programme with a detailed plan. Supported employment is available in some local authority areas and on a time-limited basis through Fair Start Scotland (see above).  Information can be found on the SUSE website.
  • The Scottish Government fund Inclusion Scotland to create internship opportunities for disabled people in Scotland.

How can I get help at work if I am disabled or have a health condition?

Employer responsibilities and Access to Work

Employers must make certain changes to make sure that those with illness or disability are not substantially disadvantaged at work. These could include changing working hours, providing equipment or potentially making physical changes to the workplace, such as installing a ramp for a wheelchair user or an audio-visual fire alarm for a deaf person. It could also mean allowing employees who become disabled to make a phased return to work – either working shorter days, flexible hours or part-time in a build-up rather than start back at work full time. More information about reasonable adjustments can be found on the UK government and Lead Scotland websites.

Those who need extra help in obtaining adjustments for support can apply for assistance – either as a grant or for ongoing costs such as travel assistance - to Access to Work  which offers support based on the needs of the person and may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace. 

What are my employment rights?

Direct discrimination is when someone is treated differently and not as well as other people because of disability.

Indirect discrimination can happen where a rule is put in place for all employees, but disadvantages people who have a disability.

Other kinds of discrimination you might have heard of are harassment, victimisation, or failure by employers to make reasonable adjustments so that you can do your job.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland provides advice on discrimination.

How can I make a claim for discrimination if I’m disabled?

Sometimes, in any kind of job an employee may feel they been discriminated against, they will be able to bring a claim to an employment tribunal. It's best they talk to your employer first to try to sort out the matter informally.

For further information see the ACAS Website. You may want to have someone you trust with you when you speak with your employer.

See the Rights Awareness section of this site for more.
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