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Education and employment experiences of young disabled adults in Scotland

Baker, Nina and Hersh, Marion (2003) Education and employment experiences of young disabled adults in Scotland. In: Disability Studies Association conference 2003, 2003-09-01. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper reports the results of a survey of young people with physical disabilities in Scotland and compares the results with the few other surveys of such groups. The survey investigates the barriers to inclusion facing the young people in their search for post-16 education, training and employment appropriate to their abilities and ambitions. Young people were either interviewed or they completed paper questionnaires about their transport, education and employment experiences and needs. Respondents were mostly still involved in some form of education or training. Very few had moved to employed status although many had ambitions to do so. Most seemed to have found their educational experiences positive, with the exception of careers guidance which seemed to be unambitious and even possibly ill-informed in some cases. Most had had work-experience of some form although for some young people in special schools the work placement was within the school. There were also cases of insufficient provision in the courses demanded by the young people, resulting in them missing opportunities at crucial stages. The paper will argue that low expectations from service providers and insufficient provision may be holding young disabled people back from appropriate education and employment opportunities, in contravention both of legal requirements and also of stated government policy to move towards full employment for all sectors of society. This research was part of a project supported by the Leonardo agency, to aid decision-making relevant to this group of the disabled community.