Learning disabilities: route into employment spelt out

Older and retired people could be recruited to prepare people with learning disabilities to enter jobs, under a forthcoming employment strategy expected next month.

Anne Williams, national co-director for learning disabilities said the strategy would aim to get more people with learning disabilities into work, and widen the range of support available.

More ambition needed

She told Community Care LIVE that the existing workforce supporting people into employment “was not ambitious enough” and that a new approach was needed.

“We must ask whether we have the most appropriate workforce for job coaching and look at recruiting different providers,” she said.

Williams said the strategy would be “radical” and aim at a “culture change” in services including schools between 2009 and 2025.

Richard Lawrence, spokesperson and research assistant at Mencap, told delegates that he had not received good advice at his Jobcentre after he left school, ending up with no benefits and nothing to do. “I felt frustrated I didn’t get enough support and help,” he said.

Benefits tap

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap, called on the government to ensure the employment strategy would address the “benefits trap” and include people with learning disabilities who were not eligible for social services.

He also said it needed to include a “range of alternatives” for those with complex needs who were unable to work.

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