A Right to Learn Project: Paid Lived Experience Opportunity for Disabled People

If you are disabled and you are attending school, further or higher education, your options, rights and entitlements to reasonable adjustments and support to learn are clearer than if you are accessing community based adult learning (CBAL) services. We are delighted to share that one of our PSP Partners, Lead Scotland, have been awarded funding from the Scottish Government to work with five disabled adult learners to co-produce a new guide to accessing CBAL opportunities. The guide will also be translated into Easy Read, British Sign Language and six languages including Polish, Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu and Romanian.

As well as giving clear information on where to find CBAL opportunities, the guide will encourage disabled learners to understand what support they can access to learn in a CBAL context. The resource will be created to encourage disabled people to engage or re-engage in learning following the impact of COVID-19, and it will also promote self-advocacy. The deadline for applications for this opportunity is 5pm on Monday 17th January 2022.

The Opportunity:

Lead Scotland are seeking applications from disabled people who would like to take up this exciting opportunity. Participants must self identify as disabled and be currently or have been previously involved in a community based adult learning opportunity (see below for definition). They will work together to gather your ideas and experiences about what disabled people need to know to successfully access CBAL opportunities. Lead Scotland will also research the different pathways on how to find opportunities, then generate and develop these ideas for our new guide. Participants will receive training on disability equality and will also have the opportunity to hear from adult learning professionals during focus group sessions. Participants should be available on the following dates:

  • Induction and Disability Equality Training: Tuesday 1st February PM
  • Focus Group 1 and generating ideas: Tuesday 8th February PM
  • Focus Group 2 and developing ideas: Tuesday 15th February PM
  • Draft editing feedback: Tuesday 8th March PM

The remaining hours will be comprised of research in your own time. Lead Scotland will try to be flexible if you cannot make one of these dates, but this is dependent on the rest of the groups’ availability.

All of the project activity will take place remotely online via either Zoom or Teams. Participants must therefore have access to a device (laptop, tablet, smart phone or computer), a stable internet connection and be confident to use Zoom or Teams or have support to do so.


Lead Scotland will pay £20 per hour for your time and involvement in this project and there will be up to 20 hours of work available, so a maximum of £400 is payable. We will pay you on receipt of an invoice direct into your bank account, so you must either be self-employed or willing to register as self-employed. They can signpost you to get support to do this and can provide a simple invoice template if you require one. If you would prefer, they can alternatively pay you in vouchers for any retailer of your choice. If you choose to be paid in vouchers, you do not need to register as self-employed. If you are in receipt of benefits, Lead Scotland will signpost you to get expert advice and support to discuss how they might be impacted by the income you receive from being involved in this project.

The total amount of £400 paid over the course of two months is likely to have a minimal impact on benefits. If you receive Universal Credit and you are either responsible for a child or have limited capability to work, then you can earn the following amount per month before your UC is affected:

  • £335 If you are getting housing costs as part of your Universal Credit award, or housing costs from the Local Authority because you are in temporary accommodation
  • £557 If you do not receive housing support

This is called your ‘work allowance’.

If you are in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, then you can earn up to £143 per week under the ‘permitted work’ rules before your benefit is affected.

Person specification:

  • Passionate about helping more disabled people access community based adult learning opportunities and improving equality and inclusion in CBAL opportunities
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Can listen to and respect other people’s ideas
  • Comfortable contributing ideas
  • Comfortable talking in a small group

Lead Scotland will provide communication support and reasonable adjustments to ensure you do not face barriers in accessing this opportunity. Please speak to them about your needs as early as possible so that they can work with you to make suitable arrangements. In order to apply, please email Rebecca Scarlett, rscarlett@lead.org.uk with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Contact phone number
  • How you meet the person specification
  • What your personal experience of community based adult learning is

If you would prefer to apply by telephone, please call 0131 228 9441 to arrange a suitable time for Rebecca to call you back. You are also welcome to get in touch if you’d like to have an informal discussion about the opportunity or ask any questions first.

You can also use Contact Scotland BSL video interpreting relay service if you are a BSL user, just click this Contact Scotland link here to make a call.

Alternatively, Lead Scotland welcome video applications. Please upload to a video sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo and share the link and password to access it. Just ask them if you would like support with this.

Please apply by 5pm on Monday 17th January 2022. Lead Scotland will contact everyone by the end of that week.

Definition of Community Based Adult Learning (CBAL):

In Scotland CBAL is provided by local authorities, third sector and colleges and includes adult literacies and English for Speakers of Other Languages, as well as digital skills, but is not limited to those subjects.

Learning opportunities are built around the needs of the learner and can be formal (qualification), non-formal (working towards defined learning outcomes but not a qualification) and informal. CBAL can be one to one but mostly takes place in small groups usually of up to 12 people. CBAL takes place in a variety of settings from community venues, online and at home to workplaces, colleges and universities. CBAL opportunities are usually free or low cost. Many people who access CBAL opportunities say that they lacked confidence and self belief at the start of their learner journey.

Examples of CBAL activities:

  • A group of employees with learning disabilities learn digital skills they will need for work
  • A group of people in the early stages of dementia take an art class because learning something new helps to sustain their skills
  • A group of people with mental health problems learn mindfulness techniques to improve mental wellbeing
  • A group of older adults in a care home learn digital skills to communicate with family and do practical things like online shopping to maintain their family connections and independence.