My name is Zarah, I’m from London and I was born in Homerton Hospital 26 years ago.

When my mother gave life to me, I actually died. But the doctors brought me back to life. Since birth I have had cerebral palsy and a learning disability. Today I want to talk to you about some of the trouble I have had finding a job, and some of the things that I think might help.

Since finishing school, I have been studying part time but mainly looking for work. I have a dream of working in a care home. I think I would be good at sitting with older people, doing crosswords, and talking to people about their lives. People say I am good at talking.

I have been going to the job centre for many years without having any luck. The advisers sit me down in front of a computer and just leave me there. But I have a learning disability. I want someone to help me search for jobs and write applications.

It makes me think a lot of disabled people out there like me are not getting the extra support they need.


There are a few things that would help a lot. It would be great if employers understood more about learning disability and what adjustments I need. For example, I can read now, but I need a computer to help me understand text and write. I need a clear role and clear instructions. When applying for a job, I would much rather have a work trial than a normal job interview. This means I get a chance to try the job and show my ability. I have a lot to give but the barriers are still so high.

I want a job to give me confidence that I can go out into the world and make use of my skills and passion. Having a job would be a big adventure. It would give me more determination to do more and be myself. I am going to start getting employment support from Mencap soon, so I am excited about that.

I hope all of you here will think about what they can do to help young people with a learning disability get into work in their area. For example, you could offer work experience. You could show how much value we have, and help us get ready to join the working world. 

Are you a person with a learning disability looking to find paid work? If so, see our easy read guides to finding work

Learning Disability Week 2017

Get involved in Learning Disability Week 2017 and help us to improve the employment prospects of people with a learning disability

Find out more

Are you looking to find paid work?

If you have a learning disability and you're looking to find paid work, or you support someone who does, then find out more about how we might be able to help you. 

Mencap Employment services

Learning Disability Week 2017: Anthony's story

Find out how Anthony has landed his dream job at Kew Gardens, thanks to support from Mencap
Read more

Overcoming employment barriers

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

Finding work - easy read guides

We know finding work can be a big challenge if you have a learning disability. See our easy read guides about finding work
Read more