Centre stage for pioneering ‘passport’ programme that supports disabled graduates into employment
The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work held a virtual meeting with the University of Wolverhampton to hear more about how disabled students are benefitting from a new ‘passport’ scheme to support them as they move into work.
The University of Wolverhampton is one of the universities working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to pilot Access to Work Adjustment Passports to ease the transition from university into employment.
The digital documents will help to reduce the need for repeated health assessments when starting a new job.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said: “It was fantastic to meet with students at the University of Wolverhampton and learn how the Access to Work Adjustment Passport is helping support their transition into employment.
“I’m thrilled the University is embracing this pilot to help these students take their first steps on the career ladder and ultimately realise their full potential.”
Professor Ian Campbell, interim Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We are committed to supporting our students to achieve their full potential and gain successful and rewarding careers when they graduate. The Access to Work Adjustment Passport is an ambitious project which aims to support disabled students as they transition from education into employment, and we are delighted to be leading the pilot programme.”
A group of disabled students met with the Minister to explain how they think the Access to Work Adjustment Passports will support their journey to employment.
Kaleemah Ahmed is a mature student from Walsall and was diagnosed with Dyslexia just before starting University. She said: “I think that the Access to Work Adjustment Passport could be really beneficial for students going into work. It will enable us to have documentation to show potential employers that these are the things we have so we don’t have to repeat ourselves, and also to support reasonable adjustments.”
The Access to Work passport is designed to give holders the confidence to have conversations about their disability and adjustments with potential employers, which can otherwise be challenging.
They will also help to raise awareness of the Access to Work scheme and encourage further uptake.
As part of Access to Work, disabled employees can apply for grants worth up to £62,900 to cover the cost of specialist equipment needed to support them to do their job.
The pilot scheme is also getting underway at Manchester Metropolitan University and Kings College, London. Up to 100 students at each university will be supported through the trial, and thousands more could benefit if the scheme is rolled out across the country.
- To support the transition from education into work DWP will be piloting an Adjustments Passport.
- The Adjustments Passport will provide students with a disability or health condition with an up to date record of the adjustments they are currently using, and any future in-work support needs they may have. The passport will reduce the need for the student to repeat details of their disability and how it could affect them in work.
- The passport will also help to raise awareness of Access to Work and the support it can provide and when the student applies for Access to Work the passport can be used to reduce the need for holistic assessment where the needs are documented.
- If the student shares the passport with potential employers it will support the employer by documenting the in-work support the student requires and raising awareness of Access to Work and the possibility of support the student could receive.
- Students participating in the passport pilot who graduate in 2022 will be the first to benefits from the Adjustments Passports.
- The pilot will be completed by March 2023 but if it’s successful it may be rolled out further.
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