Jill Davies, Research Programme Manager at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities:
"Over the last two weeks, Hanifa and I have been traveling to different locations across the UK to provide Learning Disability/Difficulty Awareness training to an employment organisation. We have been to the offices of Aventa, who support people who have been out of work for long periods of time, to talk to them about how they can support people with learning disabilities into employment. It’s a really positive step that an organisation which is not focused on learning disability issues has taken the initiative to make their service accessible and suitable for people with learning disabilities/difficulties who they may come into contact with.
So far the training has been really positive with Hanifa and I both really enjoying meeting the employees from Aventa and sharing their stories. Hanifa, who has a learning disability and has been employed by the Foundation for the past six years, gave a presentation about her job and how she finds working life and the obstacles she has overcome. She also showed the groups some examples of the kinds of work she does for the Foundation and the feedback from the groups was that it was really useful to see first-hand how a person with a learning disability can contribute to an organisation and the kind of simple adaptations that can be made to make working life accessible for the person.
The training covers a range of topics including general awareness of some of the main conditions people may have such as; learning difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and learning disabilities; the range of support that is available to people with learning disabilities to help them into work, and how employers can make their environment meet the needs of people with learning difficulties or disabilities.
We know that 65% of people with a learning disability want to find paid work, yet despite this only 6% are in employment. Hanifa and I will be off to Brighton next week to deliver the final training to the Aventa. Working with organisations such as Aventa to help support people with learning disabilities into work is a great step forward and hopefully with greater understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities, these organisations can help to make a difference to these disappointing figures."
16 March 2012