For those with a learning disability, getting work can be a job in itself
Unemployment figures in the UK have recently fallen with the number of job vacancies rising to a new record from its pre-coronavirus level. supported employment
However, employment rates have been on a downward trend year on year for adults with a learning disability. In 2020-21, just 5.1% of adults with learning disabilities were in paid employment, compared to the 76% of the general population
The reasons for this are complex – unfortunately people with learning disabilities experience a higher level of discrimination, exclusion and stigma. The belief that they have little to offer exacerbates the issue. This is a sad statistic considering that over 65% of adults with a learning disability want to work.
Employers need to understand that people with a learning disability make a valuable contribution to the workplace, when supported properly, just like everyone else.
People with learning disabilities make hardworking and enthusiastic employees, bringing new skills, talents and perspectives to their employers. A diverse workforce is a better workforce.
At Zetetick, we strongly believe that adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues deserve to live the life they want with independence and the support they need – you can read more about the diversity of our tenants here, one is an Uber driver and another is a rapper!
People with a learning disability have a right to work, if they want to. Unemployment can have a major impact on mental wellbeing and physical health. It can cause depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem. Finding or returning to work can reverse the adverse health effects – it is good for overall wellbeing, gives people a purpose and helps to build confidence, as well as providing a steady income of course.
How does supported employment help?
The term Supported Employment describes a set of values and processes which form a personalised model for supporting people with significant disabilities to secure and retain paid employment.
The model uses a partnership strategy to enable people with disabilities to achieve sustainable long-term employment and businesses to employ valuable workers.
This model has at its heart the notion that anyone can be employed if they want paid employment and sufficient support is provided. The model is a flexible and continuous process, designed to meet all anticipated needs. It can be broken down into:
- customer engagement
- vocational profiling
- employer engagement
- job matching
- in-work support
- career development
Visit the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) website for full details.
Help with supported employment is out there
There are many great organisations offering supported employment opportunities for adults with learning disabilities – here are just a few:
Base (British Association for Supported Employment) – national voice for providers of specialist employment support. There are over 200 organisations who are members of BASE and on their website you can see a full list to find employment in your area.
Brighton & Hove City Council – the Supported Employment Team within the council work with residents of Brighton & Hove, over the age of 18 and who have disabilities.
West London Alliance (WLA) – a public sector partnership between various London Boroughs working together in a number of priority areas including employment support. Their Supported Employment Programme was established to develop and commission programmes to support young people with learning disabilities and autism to gain the skills and experience required to move into employment.
NHS Supported Internships – as part of its Learning Disability Employment Programme, the NHS offers one-year work-based study programmes, providing structured transition-to-work programmes for young adults combining real-life work experience with training in employability and independent living skills.
Remploy – a leading provider of specialist employment and skills support for disabled people and those with health conditions. Their mission is to transform the lives of disabled people and those experiencing complex barriers to work. This is done by supporting thousands of people every year across a range of programmes.
Hft – a long established charity supporting people with learning disabilities, including with supported employment and work with them to find a paid or voluntary role that suits them.
WorkFit – the Down’s Syndrome Association’s employment programme which brings together employers and job-seekers who have Down’s syndrome.
SeeAbility – a national charity specialising in supporting people who have learning disabilities or autism. Their supported employment programme, Ready, Willing and Able helps those looking to move into work, develop their career, realise their ambitions and reach their full potential.
Zetetick Housing is a registered charity in England and Wales. Thank you to all our donors and volunteers who help us with our important work.