What Support is Available During an Apprenticeship?

As a blind or partially sighted student, you might have concerns about whether an apprenticeship will be accessible for you. Read on to find out more about what support is available during an apprenticeship.

Education and employment providers have a duty to take steps to ensure you can access your learning and work placement. These are called ‘reasonable adjustments’ and are covered in law by the Equality Act 2010.

Reasonable adjustments in the classroom

Reasonable adjustments offered by an education provider can include:

  • Learning materials (lecture slides, worksheets and handouts) provided in an accessible format, i.e., large print, braille, electronic or with alternative colour contrast.
  • Access to learning materials in advance of the session.
  • One to one support with a teaching assistant, QTVI or other support workers.
  • Images, diagrams, charts and other visual content described verbally and in text.
  • Extra time for assessments.
  • Changes to the End Point Assessment. The End Point Assessment is the exam taken at the end of your apprenticeship. These changes could be to the timing or format of the assessment as well as the ability to use assistive technology.

Read the Disability Rights UK guide to Adjustments for disabled students and apprentices for more information about what adjustments might be suitable for you.

Top tip

Check out our guides to getting the right support in place at college and university to find out more. You can also share our Making college accessible guide with your education provider.

Reasonable adjustments in the workplace

Employers and training providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure an apprentice can safely and fully access any workplace. Read our work experience guide for tips and examples of reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

Apprentices can also ask employers about expenses for items like transport, meals and costs associated with a disability.

Assistive technology

Having the right technology and knowing how to use it can be a game-changer for opening doors to different careers. It is a great idea to explore what technology is out there and how it could support you in your studies and employment. Check out our #BlindAndAble videos, Accessible Technology for students webinar and Technology in Education pages to find out more!

Access to Work

Access to Work is a Government grant scheme which funds the equipment and support needed by a person with a disability to enable them to do a job. Support provided via Access to Work can include:

  • Specialist equipment – such as magnification/screen reader software, electronic magnifiers, and other really useful kit. You will also receive training on how to use it.
  • Support workers/personal assistants – a person who is there to help you with tasks that you struggle with due to your vision impairment.
  • Help with travel costs to and from work – such as subsidised taxis.

Access to Work is there to help remove barriers in employment for those with disabilities. It can make the difference between being able to do a job or not, so it is an important thing to keep in mind whenever you are entering employment.

The good news is that Access to Work is available for people who are doing an apprenticeship.  Make sure you explore this option, it could make all the difference!

Find out more about the Access to Work Scheme and what it can cover.

Support from your local authority

If travel to and from your apprenticeship is a concern, you could consider applying for a blue badge permit or a concessionary bus pass with your local authority. Learning routes on public transport is an important life skill, which can be supported by your local council’s sensory team.

Student finance and Disabled Students’ Allowance

If you are taking a degree apprenticeship, you are not eligible for student finance as there are no tuition fees. You are also not eligible for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

Thomas Pocklington Trust Student Support Service

Our Student Support Service is here to support blind and partially sighted students aged 11+ to get the most out of their secondary, college and university education. If you have any questions about what you have read in this guide or you would like support in accessing your studies, please reach out to us by email: studentsupport@pocklington-trust.org.uk, or call our student support line on 0203 757 8040.

Our Student Support website has a wealth of information, guidance and stories which you may find useful, so check them out!

Disabled Apprentice Network

Disability Rights UK’s Disabled Apprentice Network is a forum for Disabled apprentices, to share their experiences and to offer views and proposals on what could improve apprenticeships for Disabled people.

The Into Apprenticeships guide goes into more detail about common apprenticeship questions. It features stories written by disabled apprentices; talking about their experiences and the challenges they have faced.

Disability Rights UK also have a  Disabled Students Helpline, offering information and advice to Disabled students, apprentices and trainees by phone and email.

Thomas Pocklington Trust Employment Service

Our Employment Service supports blind and partially sighted people wanting to start, restart or progress their careers. They have a range of employment resources to help you find and apply for work; one-to-one free coaching and mentoring; and great videos and stories showing what is possible in the world of work for blind and partially sighted people. Contact the Employment service by emailing employment@pocklington-trust.org.uk.

Get involved!

We hope this guide has helped you to get started with exploring your apprenticeship options. Check out the guide’s homepage and How to get an apprenticeship page for more information.

This is a resource we want to grow over time and your feedback is vital. If you have any suggestions for how we could improve or add to it, or if you have an apprenticeship story you would like to share, please get in touch!

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