Disabilities and what help is available
Colleges and universities have to make it clear what help they offer to disabled students. They do this by publishing a ‘disability statement’.
This should include details of:
- Admission procedures for students with disabilities
- The person in charge of support for students with disabilities
- What facilities they provide
- What access is available around the building
- A disabilities general policy.
It is illegal in Great Britain to discriminate against people with disabilities. Colleges and universities should offer interpreters and have physical aids such as ramps and lifts. All colleges should have a Learning Support Advisor
.There jobs is to advise students on courses and the help available for those with disabilities.
Visit the college first and make sure their facilities and equipment meet your needs. If you need support that’s not currently available the college may be able to provide it for you so ask the question.
Can I apply for financial support for a skills or education course?
Colleges receive money to provide financial support for students with disabilities. If they can’t meet your needs the Learning and Skills Council should refer you to a specialist college. Your Local Education Authority may offer you help towards the cost of travel. The Learner Support Fund helps students who may struggle to make ends meet at college or university. Colleges and universities set their own rules on who qualifies but students with disabilities often receive help.
Try these useful links below for more information:
What financial support can I apply for?
If you are a student applying for a higher education course you may be entitled to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). .
A DSA can be used for:
- Specialist equipment
- A helpers allowance (non-medical)
- Contribution towards additional costs of travelling
- A general allowance.
DSA is available for postgraduate and undergraduate courses. You don’t have to pay this money back which comes in handy as well! Access to the Learning Fund is for students who run into financial trouble during their course and if you are a student with a disability you will be a priority.
Help with English and Maths
If you need help with your English or maths, you may be able to study from home if you’re unable to attend classes. Contact your local course provider for more information.
Residential Training Colleges (RTCs)
If your local college cannot provide you with a suitable learning environment or course you should contact the Learning and Skills Council. They will consider funding your place at a specialist college and give you more information on how to find one.
RTCs offer vocational training to people with disabilities and specialise in helping those who are finding it difficult to get a job or find suitable training. RTCs also provide accommodation with specialist facilities such as medical support and counselling.
All RTCs are different and offer a range courses although the majority will lead to gaining National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). There are over 50 programmes available in a wide range of jobs such as book-keeping, accountancy, information technology, fork-lift truck operating, secretarial skills and adult teacher training.
There are some RTCs that offer courses running alongside vocational training, such as English and maths. Many of the students at RTCs were previously employed and have had accident or an illness that has led them to need retraining and gain lifestyle adjustments help. This type of training is free and your benefits will not be affected.
New Deal and New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP)
The New Deal government scheme offers high quality training and a chance to show others that you can do a job well. If you have a disability you don’t have to be unemployed for a certain amount of time before you can start which is not the case in other training initiatives led by the government. If you’re claiming health-related benefits an advisor can match your skills and experience to a vacancy and they can also advice on training you may might need.
Access to Work
Access to Work under the New Deal scheme offers support including alterations to improve workplace access. They also put you in touch with trained reading assistants if you have a visual impairment.
The Workstep scheme is a more specialist programme that provides support for people with more complex disabilities yet can still do a good job for an employer.