We’re committed to creating a learning environment where every apprentice can thrive. No exceptions. No one left behind.
As part of our application process, we invite all apprentices to let us know whether they are disabled or require any additional support. This could be a physical disability or mental health or learning related. Once we have this information, we’re able to provide the necessary adjustments required.
In 2020, 22% of the apprentices placed by Multiverse were disabled or required additional support. However, for existing employees taking up Multiverse apprenticeships, the figure stood at 11%. This is indicative of a wider trend. In 2019/20, just 12.2% of new apprentices in England were disabled when, according to Scope, 19% of working age adults are disabled.
No learner left behind
At Multiverse, we define additional needs as an identified cognitive, physical or mental health need that, without the right support, could disadvantage the individual compared to their peers. The additional support removes this disadvantage – creating a level playing field where all apprentices have a full and fair opportunity to thrive.
Many individuals don’t know they have an additional learning need when they start their Multiverse programmes. Often, they’ve struggled through their education without support that would have greatly helped them. For this reason, we partner with Cognassist.
Like us, Cognassist celebrates neurodiversity and believes no learner should be left behind. We give all our apprentices access to their platform to identify hidden learning needs, then devise personalised learning plans with our coaches.
We also have an Apprentice Support Team to put apprentices forward for diagnostic assessments. Having learning needs formally identified can have a hugely positive impact on individuals, helping them understand how they learn best – and why. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen early on in school, as described by one of our Multiverse apprentices, below.
An apprentice’s story...
“Getting the referral sorted to be assessed and diagnosed was the easiest thing. The hard part was waiting for the results. It was frightening because if they’d come back and nothing was wrong, everyone in my life when I was younger would have been right.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia in 2020 at the age of 59. It was amazing to know that all these years when I’d been made to feel slow, I’d actually done incredibly well despite my disability. I’m so grateful to Multiverse for that.
Since the diagnosis, I’ve been given extra learning support including additional 1:1 coaching and maths lessons. For the end-point exams, it was agreed I would be given an extra 30 minutes for both my knowledge test and live assessment. I’ll also be able to ask the Independent Assessor to simplify the questions into shorter sentences – and I can bring in prompting notes with me.”
So, what support is on offer at Multiverse?
Tailored 1:1 coaching
Our apprenticeships have 1:1 coaching at their core, with every apprentice partnered with their own dedicated coach. These coaches are ex-industry professionals and always eager to pass on their experiences in both business and life.
Bi-weekly coaching sessions are tailored to the apprentice’s unique needs, as well as their personal development goals. While highly structured, they’re also reactive to the challenges and opportunities our apprentices face as they progress on their learning journey.
On top of sharing practical knowledge, our coaches help apprentices develop their leadership skills, a growth mindset, and the often overlooked softer skills needed to excel in the workplace.
Additional learning support and adjustments
For us, support begins with effective assessment at the onset of the programme. We use Cognassist’s neurodiversity test for this task. Assessing the learner against eight cognitive domains, it produces a report to be discussed between the apprentice and their coach.
Cognassist also creates monthly learning strategies to support the apprentice on their journey. All other needs are collected at enrollment through discussions with the coach, diagnostic assessments by education psychologists, or by apprentice self-referral.
Each apprentice is an individual and as such our Apprentice Support Team will listen and tailor support to individual needs and requirements. Examples of support provided are: additional 1:1 sessions, diagnostic assessments and reasonable adjustments to programmes. Additional accessibility resources are also available, including printers, computer screens, text-to-speech software, Grammarly and personal scribes. Our team manages all of these requests and are always open to exploring new ways of supporting each apprentice.
Mental health & wellbeing support
As said by charity Mind, in many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it. To support the mental health and wellbeing of our apprentices, there are mental health first aid trained coaches throughout our coaching team, who can signpost to additional support services.
Moreover, we provide support and guidance through our Community Hub including weekly journaling workshops, regular mindfulness workshops and community led blog content.
Where apprentices are experiencing significant mental health challenges, our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) within our Apprentice Support Team is able to reach out directly to apprentices to offer additional support, The DSL also works closely with the apprentice’s employer, should any additional guidance be needed.
We also recognise that, in some cases, concerns may arise that require more specialist support. Here, apprentices are advised to seek help from their GP, the NHS or other organisations within their local area. If the apprentices can’t get immediate support, we have partnered with Self Space to provide a more readily available therapy option.
Wider community and peer support
Our Community is committed to amplifying a diversity of voices. Our monthly discussion forum, A Seat at the Table, welcomes special guests to join us in a candid discussion, spotlighting the lived experiences of individuals from underrepresented groups. Discussions have centered around subjects including mental health cultures at work and making your workforce “neurodiverse smart”. By bringing different voices to the table, the series aims to empower our members with the tools and knowledge to create inclusive working environments.
Talks and workshops from inspirational role models and accessibility experts have included Web Accessibility with Garreth Ford Williams, former Head of Design and Accessibility at the BBC, and Unlocking Self-Belief with Paralympian, Amy Marren.
In addition, apprentices have access to a range of mentoring schemes, our community leadership programme, Elevate, and social opportunities to make connections and friends across hundreds of companies in the UK & US.