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BDA delivers training to Apprenticeship Trainers at Cadent

Wednesday 30 October 2019

BDA CEO Helen Boden had the pleasure of delivering BDA Training to Apprenticeship Trainers at Cadent recently. Apprenticeships are often a route chosen by individuals who don’t enjoy or thrive in the more traditional academic environments, often these are dyslexic individuals. Apprenticeships with their work-based learning can provide opportunities for dyslexic individuals to unlock and showcase their many talents.

Unfortunately, the BDA are all too often hearing of apprentices who can do the job, in fact are highly skilled and excellent at the job, but then can’t pass their apprenticeship because they struggle with the Functional Skills elements, i.e. English and maths. We hear of individuals taking the tests, particularly the writing test multiple times and failing.

Why is this? Once again spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) marks are given an extremely heavy weighting in these tests. And once again the use of a grammar and spell checker is not permitted. In fact, even OfQual admits; “Our decision to prohibit access to spelling and grammar checks in the Writing assessment is necessitated by the requirements of the subject content. However, we do recognise that this decision is likely to have a negative impact on learners with particular disabilities such as dyslexia.”

So where are the reasonable adjustments in this? Where is the connection to the real world of work? When was the last time anyone turned off their spelling and grammar check when undertaking a writing activity in work? Combined with this is the fact that these writing tasks are not contextualised to the vocational area. This means that what a candidate is being asked to write about, often in fact, has no connection to their actual work activity.

Once again we are seeing a disregard for not only dyslexia, but also an increasing disconnection between study and the real world of work, even when it is supposed to be directly related, and dyslexics being denied the opportunity to showcase their talents leading to lost opportunities and individual’s potential left unharnessed.