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Overcoming employment barriers

19 June 2017

Many people with a learning disability can and do want to work, but are often denied the opportunity because there are many barriers to finding meaningful paid work

Ian Breslin

I’ve been working for 11 years at Bromley Mencap’s Jobmatch service, which supports people to find employment. In this time I’ve supported hundreds of people with a learning disability into paid employment and volunteer opportunities. I’ve worked with people with various levels of support needs over the years, ranging from mild to complex.

In this time I’ve seen the job market change dramatically. The days of handing in a printed CV to a potential employer are practically non-existent.  Online applications are now the way most employers prefer to find suitable candidates for employment. But this clearly presents barriers to people with a learning disability finding work.

However, Bromley Mencap has been running a successful employment programme for 24 years. Over this time Bromley Mencap has been forward thinking in negotiating job opportunities for their candidates and our approaches have been recognised by two national award schemes.

One of the initiatives is called job carving. This involves meeting with an employer and discussing opportunities in their work place which would be suitable for somebody with a disability. Job carving leads to the creation of a new post by carving out the tasks from one or more vacancies that match the skills and abilities of a disabled job seeker.  

Anything is achievable with the right support 

Mark

A job coach will work alongside the candidate until everyone is happy that support can be reduced or withdrawn, and the employee with a disability is able to work independently. Over the years, Bromley Mencap has placed many people into prosperous job carved positions.

With the changes that are taking place in the job market, Bromley Mencap sees the potential for carving out more positions. We are currently working with many companies who realise the benefits, such as resourcefulness, that job carving can bring. Long this may continue.

The Bromley Mencap Job Match training and employment scheme currently runs several programmes for people with disabilities. These include:

  • The Step Forward programme for people who are eligible for a social care package to support them to work towards paid employment or volunteering
  • A Job Retention service for disabled people in work who need support to sustain their jobs
  • A Supported Internship programme for College students with learning disabilities
  • An LLDD NEET programme for young people with learning disabilities or difficulties who are not in education, training or employment
  • A Pathway to Employment programme which includes work tasters for students at local schools and colleges

With the right support to gain employment, so much more is achievable for people with a learning disability to find happy and meaningful paid work.

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