Centre of Excellence Pilot Project

Currently in Scotland, 81% of the general population are in paid employment. This is a stark contrast to disability employment rates where 45% of the general disability community have paid jobs, 33% of people registered blind have paid jobs, 32% of people on the autism spectrum have paid jobs, 42% of people with hearing loss have paid jobs and 4% of people with learning disabilities have paid jobs.

The Underrepresented Groups workstream hopes to address these gaps by building the capacity of employers to recruit and retain people who traditionally have been denied the opportunity to work.

Our research revealed that key areas of need include disability awareness training, accessible information and communication tools and techniques. The Underrepresented Groups workstream will take forward the issues raised in the initial research and advise Apt on future practice, whilst also providing manageable services and products that can be marketing commercially through our Centre of Excellence (link)

A range of training courses will be delivered co-productively to both employers and providers on a number of topics including learning disability awareness, autism awareness, hearing loss awareness and sight loss awareness.

Project Outcomes

The project will be coordinated by Values into Action Scotland (VIAS) who have formed a delivery partnership with Sight Scotland, RNID, the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability and The Action Group. People who have lived experience will co-deliver all of the courses.

In response to the current situation with COVID-19, the project will initially be delivered as a suite of online training opportunities for staff operating at all levels of the employers and service providers who’ve committed to participating. These courses will be delivered over Zoom and will last 2-3 hours. This will be reviewed as we gradually move on from the pandemic.

The project will also offer bespoke consultancy for employers in a range of areas to build their knowledge, skills and capacity. These include:

  • Training in Systematic Instruction
  • Understanding the funding landscape
  • Achieving diversity in the workplace
  • Inclusive recruitment and selection

The consortium will work together to standardise co-productive training and consultancy delivery to ensure that excellence is maintained throughout all activities. We aim to offer the finalised services through the Centre of Excellence on a commercial basis from Spring 2022.