Providing jobs for people with learning disabilities

Dementia Care
September 7, 2017

As a sector, we should be leading the way in providing jobs for people with learning disabilities.

The Guardian recently published a story about jobs for people with learning disabilities.

It was called “You have to give learning disabled people the opportunity to prove themselves.” We agree with this sentence!

It said that “only 5.8% of people with a learning disability who are known to social care services are in work.”

It also said that “62% of learning disabled people want paid work but have been unable to get a job.”

The article talks about how 6 of the 35 staff at Kew Gardens have a learning disability. Their HR department had to make some adjustments for this to happen, but as the article says “just a tiny adjustment plus an open-minded employer can get people with learning disabilities into jobs they want and can do.”

My Life My Choice were used as one of the case studies for the article. We have also found that once you have made adjustments, people with learning disabilities can be paid for their work and do a great job.

On the other hand, only 91 of Mencap’s 8,260 staff (about 1%) have a learning disability, despite the charity campaigning for work for people with learning disabilities.

This got us thinking, as organisations who work for and with people with a learning disability, perhaps we should get our own house in order before calling on businesses to employ more people with learning disabilities?

Rather than target employment campaigns at the private sector, perhaps we should be looking towards health and social care and the charity sector to lead the way?

From our own work, it is obvious that people with learning disabilities can and do offer support to their peers and other adults with support needs. For example, Dawn often does the shopping for some of the elderly residents of the place where she lives.

At the very least, we should all be aiming for 2.3% of an organisation’s paid staff to have a learning disability, since that is the percentage of the general population that has a learning disability.

Rather than talking about how people with learning disabilities are capable and should have the same life chances as everybody else, why don’t we show the world that they are, by changing our recruitment processes to support them into our workforce?

Who’s with us?

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