This week (9 to 15 November) sees Mencap launch Learning Disabilities Work Experience Week – an awareness week aimed at improving the employment chances of people with a learning disability – and at Buckinghamshire Care, we are proud of our innovative approach in this field.
Statistics from Mencap’s joint-research with Inclusive Employers – a UK-wide organisation, supporting employers to build inclusive workplaces – has revealed some startling statistics regarding attitudes to creating work opportunities for people with learning disabilities, including:
- Just 7% of adults with a learning disability are in paid employment, yet 65% want to work (and have the capability to work too)
- Just 3% of employers feel not all their colleagues would be happy working with somebody with a learning disability
- 80% of employers surveyed however agreed having disabled employees helps a company understand its disabled customers better
At Buckinghamshire Care, we are proud of the efforts we make – not only creating work experience for people across our range of employment services – but also, actively developing paid employment roles for adults with learning disabilities right across our own services.
Supported clients have been recruited and supported where needed to take on a number of paid and apprentice roles, based out of Buckinghamshire Care services. Job roles introduced through the project include; chefs, cleaners and landscapers.
Healthcare experts LaingBuisson recognised our efforts, awarding us a national accolade for ‘Innovation’ in this area, in March this year. Through this work, we have also altered our approach to existing external contracts, proactively creating paid work for our clients instead.
Dave Young – our Director of Operations – said earlier this year: “By employing more disabled people on equal pay and terms and conditions – working directly alongside our workforce – this will raise expectations among the target groups and provide a pioneering platform for others.
“Client involvement and employment within Buckinghamshire Care was our main focus and driver. What we are doing means real work within the community, as well as giving people an ongoing and controllable source of vocational placements for skills development and employment training, prior to accessing the open employment market.
“By increasing their self-esteem and improving life pathways and access to opportunities, we are not only making a positive impact on people, but our approach will inevitably lead to an improved social status for these individuals.”
In addition to this, we have worked hard to build great partnerships with high street employers across Buckinghamshire, through our Back2Base programme – including supporting people to work at Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Sainsbury’s.
Read some of our success stories here