This guidance is designed to support you through the procurement process for an apprenticeships training provider and will help you to ensure that:
- your procurement process for potential bidders is accessible and inclusive
- the specification you set holds accessibility and inclusion at the forefront
- the provider you choose is inclusive and accessible to disabled people and people with learning disabilities or difficulties.
Stage 1- ensuring that the bidding process is accessible, inclusive and diverse
Here are some key suggestions to think about when preparing the bidding process.
- Consider the diversity of those assessing bids from training providers, including age, gender identity, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexuality and disability status.
- Advertise the opening of the bidding process as widely as possible to reach a diverse range of providers, for example, ensuring special education needs (SEN) providers have access to the bidding process.
- Ensure the bidding process is accessible and compatible with e-readers, available in easy read or alternative formats.
- Provide support to any potential bidders who need any extra help due to accessibility needs.
- Highlight the requirement for any bidding training provider to demonstrate commitment to your organisational values and vision, including a specific commitment to supporting and promoting inclusivity around disability.
- Promote your commitment to inclusive recruitment of apprentices by holding an open day where you promote this to potential training providers.
Stage 2 – setting a specification
It's important to set some minimum criteria for those applying to bid and establish whether the training provider is committed to being an inclusive and open organisation and can demonstrate the following.
- Their organisational priorities and vision - are they a Disability Confident employer?
What kind of support do they already offer disabled staff/ staff with LDD?
- Where do they advertise opportunities? Do they provide training support including end point assessments?
- Are their entry requirements inclusive and are there clear pathways into an apprenticeship?
- Do they offer accessible learning and training spaces?
Stage 3 – choosing the training provider
You would need to consider whether all bidders have met the specification you set. You could calculate this through attributing a scoring system based on how important they are to you. Ask for evidence that demonstrates how inclusive their recruitment processes are.
- Do they provide learning support to individuals with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or disclosed disability/ learning disability or difficulty?
- Do they have established links with special educational needs (SEN) schools locally? Do they offer guaranteed interviews for disabled applicants? Is financial support available to help disabled individuals full access training?
Stage 4 – working with the training provider
Once you have a chosen your training provider, it's important to maintain high standards of inclusion and accessibility.
- Ensure you have regular discussions with the training provider to understand the progress of disabled apprentices or apprentices with LDD.
- If issues arise for learners relating to their disability or LDD, be ready to signpost to local organisations, such as a local Mencap, that may be able to provide specific training on raising awareness around learning disabilities within the training provider organisation.
Where adaptions may need to be made, ensure you have information on:
- Access to Work – learners can apply for this support, which can either be in the form of equipment, transport or travel expenses reimbursed
- job coaches – available via Jobcentre Plus, they can support disabled apprentices/apprentices with LDD into an apprenticeship or workplace.
HEE procurement toolkit
TUC accessible apprenticeships