The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a pilot scheme to ease the transition from university into employment by reducing the need for repeated health assessments when starting a new job.
The Access to Work Adjustments Passport, now underway at Wolverhampton and Manchester Metropolitan universities, is being offered to disabled students who receive extra support, capturing information about their condition and the adjustments they already benefit from, avoiding repetitive disclosures when it comes to applying for grants once they start work.
Through Access to Work, disabled people can benefit from grants worth up to £62,900 to cover the cost of specialist equipment needed to support them to do their job.
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 UK.
Minister for disabled people Chloe Smith praised the scheme, which she believes will empower disabled students and those with long term health conditions, as they transition into the workplace.
Adjustments for disability
She said: “Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to thrive at work, starting from the moment they take their first steps on the career ladder.
“By working with University of Wolverhampton and Manchester Metropolitan University on this trial, we can find the best way to for these new passports to support their students into employment.
“Access to Work is a fantastic scheme offering financial support to those people that need extra help. Programmes like this, alongside Disability Confident and the over 100 commitments in our National Disability Strategy, will help us get one million more disabled people in work by 2027.”
Dr Iliyan Stefanov, head of student support and wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton, said it was “delighted to support the introduction of the Adjustments Passport scheme by undertaking a pilot study with disabled students, potential employers and disability support staff.
“We are committed to supporting our students to achieve their potential and are proud to be involved in such an innovative and ambitious project.”
The passport is designed to give holders the confidence to have conversations about their disability and adjustments with potential employers, which can otherwise be challenging.
Students who graduate next summer will be the first to benefit from the Adjustments Passports. The pilot will be completed by March 2023, but if successful the DWP said it will consider rolling it out before it ends. It will also run a similar pilot for disabled youngsters on a supported internships, apprenticeships or a traineeships next spring.