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Education and Employment

Government planner to help university students with disabilities into work

student in wheelchair in library

Hundreds of thousands of disabled university and higher education students are set to benefit from a new Government planner to help ease their transition into work. 

Following a successful pilot at several top universities, the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Adjustment Planner will be rolled out to all students in higher education in time for the next academic year.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP, said: “Searching for a job post-university as a disabled student can be stressful but our new Adjustment Planner has been proven to make that process easier, helping more disabled people to start, stay and succeed in work.

“I am delighted this is now being rolled out to higher education institutions across the UK, removing barriers to employment and helping more disabled people reach their full potential.”

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: “Ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the same opportunities to climb the ladder of opportunity is crucial if we are to build a world-class skills nation that benefits everyone.

“As a longstanding champion of social justice, I am delighted that disabled people will now be able to access Adjustment Passports across all higher education institutions. No matter what region or sector, disabled people can feel confident and secure they will be supported both during their studies and when they enter the workplace.”

The voluntary planner will collate the relevant needs of students which can then be simply passed on to employers – negating the need for repeated assessments and conversations for adjustments such as specific desks and chairs, assistive software or arranging travel to the workplace.

The planner will also reduce the need for an Access to Work assessment and enable all students exiting higher education to benefit from the scheme faster. This will ensure disabled people have the equipment they need to work effectively.

The planner also contains helpful advice on what types of funding and government support is available to help employers unlock the potential of millions of disabled people across the UK.

Professor Deborah Johnston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at London South Bank University (LSBU), said: “Making the transition from education to the workplace is never easy and for students with a disability it can be even more difficult. Conversations around disability can often be misunderstood by employers and those with a disability can felt frustrated by the system they face which can act as a barrier to employment.

“The Adjustments Planner pilot scheme has overwhelmingly shown that disabled students feel more confident that their needs will be understood and met by their new employers with the planner in place.  The new Adjustments Planner goes a long way to improving the transition from education to the workplace and ensures those with a disability are given the correct support they need.”

The scheme was initially piloted at the University of Wolverhampton, Manchester Metropolitan University and King’s College London. Surveys of disabled students at these sites later showed overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and staff.

Universities Disabilities Access Ambassador, Geoff Layer, said: “I welcome this initiative as it is a key step forward in enhancing the graduate employment opportunities for disabled students.

“The research that was undertaken by the Disabled Student Commission clearly highlighted the need for such interventions to secure greater inclusivity in the workplace.”

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