Call for views to help shape apprenticeship standards with specialism in supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism

Employers with an interest in developing apprenticeship standards with a specialism in supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism are encouraged to submit their views to a national consultation.

The specialist options will help ensure the social care workforce has the knowledge and skills required to support people with learning disabilities and/or autism in community settings, and help address the skill gaps highlighted last month in the Care Quality Commission’s annual State of Care report.

The consultation, launched by the Institute for Apprenticeships, was developed in response to concerns expressed by a number of organisations that the existing social care apprenticeships do not enable the development of the specialist skills required to support people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Sector bodies including British Institute for Learning Disabilities, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, and Skills for Care have been working together to support the development of standards that meet the needs of the disability sector.

In 2012, the Richard Review recommended that employers were given the power to design and develop qualifications that are more fit for purpose. As a result of this, new apprenticeship standards are developed by trailblazer groups, which are employer-led. A learning disability and autism subgroup of the Social Care Trailblazer was established, with the purpose of improving workforce development opportunities that develop the skills necessary to improve support for people with autism and/or learning disabilities, based on best practice and evidence.

Jo Land, Chair of the learning disability and autism subgroup, said: “We’re determined that these standards really meet the needs of our diverse sector, apprentices and the people who ultimately benefit from social care support.

“Together we employ a significant workforce and must maximise the benefits of the Apprenticeship levy – I strongly urge all providers to contribute to the consultation, and help us develop a qualification that delivers for everyone.”

The consultation, which closes on 10 November, can be accessed on the Institute for Apprenticeships website here.