It’s a tragedy that Remploy is to close so many factories. The government-funded company that employs disabled people is to shed 2,270 jobs.
Remploy will focus more on getting disabled people into mainstream employment, and the leading charities have backed the move. But it’s cold comfort for those facing unemployment.
There’s no doubt that people with physical and learning disabilities have a lot more to contribute to the workplace than is currently being tapped. But no one should underestimate the scale of the challenge. It’s going to take a significant cultural shift among employers, with disability discrimination legislation not being enough on its own.
Research by Community Care, as part of our campaign to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, shows that, although many want work and more organisations want to employ them, barriers persist.
Awareness of the need for targeted recruitment remains low among employers, for example. And stereotyping is still rife. Many employers don’t believe they have any suitable roles and that disabled people are difficult to accommodate.
More work needs to be done to convince managers of the business case. To that end a version of our analysis on the barriers appears in our sister title, Personnel Today, communicating the learning points to HR teams.
The message for everyone else is that employers are going to need as much support and advice as the service users to create and maintain meaningful work opportunities.
Workforce barriers still exist
Employment barriers for people with learning disabilities
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