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Careers education ‘is failing many disabled students’

Youngster dressed for work in his dad's clothes

Equality & Human Rights Commission suggest careers advice begins at Primary School

Careers education is failing many young disabled people, and other disadvantaged groups, according to a new report from the equality watchdog.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report says careers education and guidance often fails to meet students’ needs or challenge traditional “stereotypical thinking”.

The report – which focuses on England, Scotland and Wales – reveals that nearly a quarter of disabled young people say they have not had enough information to make the right choices for their future.

Research suggests that disabled young people are not receiving the careers advice they believe they need to move into employment and adult life, with many left feeling “discouraged” and “disappointed”, says the report.

Other research suggests that careers advice is “insufficiently targeted” at the needs of disabled young people, which are “not well understood”. 

The report says all careers education should raise aspirations and address equality issues, and should begin in primary school, while the education sector should work more closely with parents and businesses.

It also calls for young disabled people to be involved in the development of careers services.

RADAR, the disability rights charity, said it was “concerned” by the report’s findings, which “confirm what disabled people have been telling us”.

Disabled 17-year-olds in England are more than twice as likely to be not in education, employment or training as non-disabled young people the same age (17 per cent compared with seven per cent).

RADAR said action was needed to “break down barriers to young disabled people realising their full potential”, through inclusive education, role models, work experience and flexible support.

Liz Sayce, RADAR’s chief executive, said: “This report gives hard evidence that positive outcomes of careers education and guidance largely pass young disabled people by.

“Disabled young people are still hemmed in by stereotypes of what they can and cannot do. It is imperative that areers advice and guidance breaks out of the stereotypes and encourages disabled people to aim high.”

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