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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-08704: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 6 April 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to increase the number of people with autism (a) taking up a modern apprenticeship and (b) accessing full-time employment.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 5 May 2017

In response to Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) recommendations, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) published its Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland on 2 December 2015.

The plan has a focus to increase the number of young disabled people; Ethnic minority groups and care leavers entering Modern Apprenticeships.

In order to attract and support young people on the autistic spectrum to be successful in a Modern Apprenticeship (MA) and other employment opportunities, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has engaged in a number of approaches to attract young people to available opportunities and to ensure that support is optimised once they have embarked upon their opportunity.

As part of the Scottish Strategy for Autism Scottish Government have worked with partners to increase the number of people with autism taking up employment. We funded Values into Action Scotland’s three-year project ‘Diversity Works 4 U’ to support young people with autism to access Modern Apprenticeships (MA) and to ensure the MA scheme is both inclusive and fully responsive to the needs of autistic people.

We have also supported a range of other supported employment models, including Project SEARCH, to support people with autism to find and sustain in employment. We will continue to work with our partners to promote personal outcomes approaches and to support more autistic people to take up employment.