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English: A disabled parking place in Torrens. ...

Disabled people will get more support to gain the skills and experience they need to get a job under changes to the government’s specialist disability employment scheme announced yesterday.

Disabled people on traineeships, supported internships, work trials and work academies will for the first time get additional help through the Access to Work scheme – which provides funding towards the extra costs disabled people face in work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment or support workers.

According to a Government communique “recent changes also mean that businesses with up to 49 employees will save up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund by no longer paying a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work.”

Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance are also eligible for Access to Work funding. Access to Work has previously been called ‘the government’s best kept secret’ so to raise awareness of the changes, the government will continue its marketing campaign – targeted at young disabled people and people with mental health conditions.

How to apply

To apply, go to www.gov.uk/access-to-work and find the Access to Work centre that deals with your area.

More information

Supported internships are a Department for Education programme for young people who have complex learning difficulties or disabilities. They will provide a structured learning programme at an employer that is tailored to the young person’s individual needs with expert support provided to both the employer and the young person usually through job coaches.

Traineeships are a new Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Department for Education programme to support young people to develop the skills they need to secure employment, including apprenticeships. It will be open to young people aged 16 up to 24 (subject to certain eligibility criteria), including those with a disability and in other disadvantaged groups. Places will begin to be available from August 2013.

Sector-based work academies offer pre-employment training and work placements in growth industries with a guaranteed job interview.

Self-Made Work Trials will enable young disabled people to set up their own trial with a local employer if there is a realistic prospect of a job at the end of the trial.

Work Experience placements offer young people a few weeks with a local employer to help build their CVs and job skills.

The New Enterprise Allowance helps unemployed people who want to start their own business by providing access to financial support – a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 and a loan of up to £1,000 to help with start-up costs – as well as business mentoring from local entrepreneurs.