People with a learning disability will be helped into paid jobs to close the employment gap, Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People and Phil Hope, Minister for Care Services pledged today.
The goal is set out in the new cross-government Learning Disability Employment Strategy, published today. The strategy sets out a vision to increase the number of real jobs for people with learning disabilities with appropriate support being provided.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:
“Two thirds of people with a learning disability would like to work. Huge progress has been made in getting physically disabled people into employment but more must be done to help people with a learning disability – we’re missing a huge talent pool which employers can tap into.
“This strategy lays out an ambitious but achievable goal – to close the employment gap, for people with learning disabilities.
“The public sector has an important role to play to deliver the strategy, which is why it commits Government departments and the NHS to increasing the number of jobs they offer to people with learning disabilities.”
Minister for Disabled People Jonathan Shaw said:
“This strategy will help thousands more people get into work. We want to make sure everyone gets the help and support they need to overcome their barriers to work, fulfil their potential and build a better life for themselves and their families.
“We have made real improvements over the last decade to the lives of disabled people but there is still more to do, which is why we have committed to do more.”
The strategy, which will focus on adults with moderate and severe learning disabilities, will seek to close the employment gap with a number of measures:
- It is crucial to promote the fact that people with learning disabilities can work and have careers. The single most important thing is to change, from an early age, expectations about work, and Government will encourage widespread culture change;
- 400 employment opportunities will be offered to people with learning disabilities across the Department for Work and Pensions, including in Jobcentre Plus;
- the Department of Health will continue to work with Strategic Health Authorities, the NHS Confederation and NHS Employers to increase the number of people with learning disabilities employed in the NHS;
- all Government departments will be issued with guidance to help them target people with learning disabilities in recruitment campaigns;
- Jobcentre Plus staff will continue to be trained to support disabled people, including people with learning disabilities, into work; and
- job coaches will be recruited to give people with learning disabilities the support they need to find and retain paid employment;
- good career and skills preparation in schools and colleges;
- the Office for Disability Issues is today inviting interested organisations to submit proposals to become Project Search sites, and take part in an evaluation of Project Search. Project Search supports people with learning disabilities into paid jobs by providing a series of internships with a host employer.
A delivery plan, to be published alongside the strategy, will set out actions with timescales and responsibilities to ensure progress.
Department of Health, UK