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Support for Apprentices with a Learning Difficulty or Disability

Support and assistance available to help you complete your apprenticeship if you have a learning difficulty or disability.

What if I have a learning difficulty or disability

 If you have a learning difficulty or a disability your training provider and employer may be able to put some extra support and assistance in place to help you complete your apprenticeship.


What are my rights?

As a disabled person, you have rights to protect you from discrimination. These rights cover many areas, including employment and education. It’s against the law for employers to discriminate against you because of a disability. The Equality Act 2010 protects you during the application and interview process for employment and as you progress in your career.

Some employers will ask if you need adjustments in the application form or when you are invited to interview. Legally you do not have to ‘disclose’ your condition when you are applying for a job, but it may help the employer to better support you. If you are going to ask for reasonable adjustments, you will need to say that you are disabled. More information on your rights is included on the Disability rights: Employment website. 


Talk to your training provider or employer

 There may be funding and financial incentives available to you, your training provider, or your employer to help you during your apprenticeship. If you choose to make people aware of your circumstances, it might help them to see whether these opportunities are available for you.

You might want to talk to your training provider and / or employer confidentially about your learning difficulty or disability:

  • You do not need a formal diagnosis or evidence like an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to have the conversation.
  • Be open and up-front about your individual needs. In many situations this can be beneficial to you and the people you are working with.
  • Have these conversations at an early stage to make people involved aware of your condition.
  • Talk about how it affects you and the way you may work and/or learn.


How will my needs be assessed?

At the start of an apprenticeship, your training provider should hold an initial assessment with you.

Assessments are used to help the training provider:

  • Identify the skills, qualifications or experience you have, including your English and maths qualifications.
  • Assess whether you have any learning difficulties or disabilities which might impact on your activities or training.
  • Do further assessments to help make sure you get the right support during your apprenticeship.
  • Tailor activities to meet the needs of the training programme and of you as an individual.
  • Identify, consider and evidence the support and adjustments required and discuss this with you.

There is no set method or format which the training provider must use to assess your needs. It will often be done through a conversation with you where you can choose to tell them about your needs and provide them with any relevant medical details.

This assessment may also involve some computer-based activities which will help them to identify the type of support you may benefit from. This assessment should be thorough and provide evidence of how your learning difficulty or disability requires support and how that support will be given.

Any arrangements for support must be agreed and signed off by you as the apprentice. If you give your permission, the training provider can share this information with your employer so that they are aware of your individual needs and can make any adjustments or arrangements to support you.

If your circumstances change during your apprenticeship, you should inform your training provider and employer.


What are reasonable adjustments?

If you have a disability or physical or mental health condition, your employer and training provider must make reasonable adjustments, so you’re not disadvantaged when doing your job or training.

This is a legal requirement and is detailed in the Equality Act 2010 and applies to all workers, including trainees, apprentices, contract workers and business partners.

Adjustments can look different depending on your specific needs but could include:

  • Arranging tasks in a different way.
  • Giving you more time to do your work.
  • Providing equipment which helps you do your work.
  • Making physical changes to the workplace, like installing a ramp if you are a wheelchair user.
  • Offering employees training opportunities, recreation, and refreshment facilities.

Your training provider will review your progress monthly throughout the apprenticeship to ensure that the reasonable adjustments remain necessary and to be able to change what support is in place if needed. They will keep evidence of any assessments and changes.


What funding is available to support apprentices’ needs?

Once your needs have been assessed your training provider will make the reasonable adjustments you may need to complete your apprenticeship.

Training providers may be able to claim financial support towards these adjustments called learning support payments, which will go straight to the training provider to put these things into place for you.

Access to Work is available for employers and apprentices to help with your needs in the workplace if you have a learning difficulty or disability. The support you get will depend on your needs. 

Access to Work could give you a grant to help pay for things like:

  • BSL interpreters, lip speakers or note takers.
  • Adaptations to your vehicle so you can get to work.
  • Taxi fares to work or a support worker if you cannot use public transport.
  • A support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace.


English and maths requirements

As part of your apprenticeship, you will usually have to have a certain level of English and maths qualification to meet the Gateway criteria for the End-Point Assessment (EPA).

A Level 2 Intermediate apprentice normally needs to hold or achieve Level 1 Functional Skills English and maths, as well as study towards and take assessments at Level 2 (you do not need to pass Level 2, unless your specific apprenticeship requires it).

Your training provider will help you develop your English and maths skills during your apprenticeship. If your learning difficulty or disability means you can’t achieve the usual level of English and/or maths you may be able to complete Entry Level 3 Functional Skills instead.

You will need to have either:

  • An Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan.


  • A Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • A Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA)

In the first eight weeks of your apprenticeship, your provider will talk to you about English and maths and collect some information to decide whether you should do Entry Level 3 Functional Skills. They will make a learning plan for how you will develop your literacy and numeracy skills.

 It is important that you discuss the End-Point Assessment with your training provider. They will make an assessment about any additional support or adjustments which you may require in your end-point assessment.

There is a separate resource for more information on the End-Point Assessment


Other support

Many apprentices find it helpful to have a network of people in place to offer informal support during the apprenticeship. External information and sources of support are available in addition to your manager, training provider and a buddy or workplace mentor if you have one.

  • The Disabled Apprentice Network is a forum for disabled apprentices to share their experiences and offer their views on improving apprenticeships
  • Organisations like Disability Rights UK provide online guidance

Need further help or support?

You can also contact the Apprenticeship helpline for advice and guidance.

Telephone: 0800 0150 400

Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm