Too much wasted talent

Our Head of Engagement, Scott Watkin, tells his story:

When I was in school, I was told by my teacher I would never live independently, have a job or a family. My life hasn’t been easy and I have had to fight to be valued. But today, I live in my own home with my wife and daughter [and] I have built a career I am really proud of.

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Despite better education support for people with learning disabilities and autism – and protections in the Equality Act – there is still a large divide between the rate of employment of disabled people and that of the wider population.

There are 1.5 million people with learning disabilities living in the UK, but only 6% are in paid employment. In some areas the employment rate is as low as 0.3%.

Yet evidence shows that many people with learning disabilities want to work and build careers.

Supporting more people with learning disabilities into paid employment

At SeeAbility, we support people who want to use their talents to make a difference. We’ve launched a new supported employment programme - Ready, Willing and Able. It will give people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss the right support to have their talents valued in the workplace – many for the first time – and to build fulfilling careers. 

It will support more people like Grace, who with SeeAbility’s support completed a work placement at the Bank of England, and now has her first paid role.

If you have a learning disability, autism or sight loss and need support with work, please get in touch by emailing [email protected] to share your details so that when a suitable opportunity arises, we can get in contact. We could also help you to find accommodation or everyday support that will help you be your best at work.

Working in partnership

It isn’t enough to reflect diversity; we also need to choose inclusion. That means embracing difference and promoting an environment that brings cognitive differences to the fore. SeeAbility, like the Bank of England, are committed to creating a culture where everyone can maximise their potential

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

At SeeAbility, we know one of the most effective ways to create inclusive communities is by partnering with leading businesses. These partnerships create opportunities for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to work, so that they can take control and shape their own lives.

When everyone who wants to work, can work, we know the impact will be transformational - more diverse and inclusive workplaces, and ultimately a more diverse, happy and inclusive society.

Please contact Frances Lawrence at [email protected] to find out more about the ways to work in partnership below.

How we can support your company with inclusion?

We can help your organisation recruit more people with a disability. Many employers have preconceptions about what job a person with a learning disability could do. For example, they may assume jobs need to have repetition or low responsibility, instead of understanding and matching individuals’ talents. Our new supported employment programme Ready, Willing and Able will support your organisation to be more confident recruiting and effectively supporting people with learning disabilities in the workplace.

We can also help your organisation develop a truly inclusive culture. We have already worked with leading businesses to consider some of their barriers to inclusion. We do this in a positive way, through:

  • thought-provoking immersive activities (including virtual reality)
  • advising on internal disability networks
  • unforgettable motivational talks
  • hosting World Café sessions
  • tailored awareness training

BBC Children in Need’s Celebrity Liaison Officer, Daniel Parker tweeted:

We have also had feedback from the Bank of England after our World Café session with their team: 

Senior Manager:

A brilliant day thank you! We all loved it and I know people are talking about this with colleagues.

Team member:

It has been a real pleasure meeting and working with you all and we are very much looking forward to building on what we have done so far.

Please contact Frances Lawrence at [email protected] to discuss how your organisation can benefit from partnering with SeeAbility.

Steph at her job in a café. She is smiling and wearing an apron