Did you know that the number of adults with a learning disability in Scotland is significantly under-reported? This is due to inconsistencies in how learning disabilities are defined by organisations, reluctance to self-disclose, and limited recording of learning disabilities in organisations monitoring systems.
The employment rate for people with a learning disability is estimated to be in the range of 7% to 25%, which is well below the disability rate of 42%. At SixthSense-Training we are working hard to see that figure increase, and along with our partners at Concept Northern, we are fully equipped to support people with disabilities.
The Scottish Government commissioned the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) to produce a report on the scale and effectiveness of employability support for people living in Scotland with learning disabilities. They found that there were a number of societal factors that impacted on learning disability employment.
The report highlighted that parents were the most used and trusted source of information and guidance for young people when determining their future career prospects. However, it was also determined that parents were often guilty of unintentionally limiting the young person’s future. The report emphasised that some parents:
- Had low expectations of their child’s abilities
- Feared disappointment if aspirations rise above likely outcomes
- Are over(ly) protective and did not want their child to face potential risks
- Were concerned about household income due to reduced benefits if young person moved into employment
The report also found that the education system hampered the young people by offering limited encouragement- Only 17% of students with a learning disability achieved an SCQF level 6 or above. At Sixth Sense Training, we provide full support for our apprentices throughout the completion of their SVQs. This both enables the apprentices to reach this level of qualification, as well as empowering the young person through the sense of freedom and independence gainful employment can offer.
It was determined that most young Scot’s living with a disability choose to go to college after school. It appeared that these young Scot’s often tend to fall into ‘cycling’ between different courses rather than being supported along a pathway into employment. However, with a modern apprenticeship, young people are able to further their education and achieve nationally recognised qualifications, while being supported by both Sixth Sense Training and their employer. We work closely with Concept Northern with all of our apprentices that face barriers to employment and Access to work is available to provide any additional specialist support required.
Many people with learning disabilities have additional support needs and conditions that directly impact on their ability to enter, sustain and progress into employment. While employment may not be possible for everyone, it should be a very real aspiration for all. In order to support more people with additional needs and help to find them gain employment we must:
- Challenge the misconceptions held by employers and existing employees
- Encourage and support employers on how to provide a more accessible and inclusive workplace
- Encourage employers to invest in the career development and progression of employees with a learn disability
- Encourage employers to make adaptations in their recruitment and employment practices so that people can access and sustain the jobs on offer
Cultural change won’t happen overnight, but we are making efforts to challenge both employers and employees preconceptions.
So what works for people with a learning disability, and how are Sixth Sense Training incorporating that into our practice?
- Sixth Sense Training will be employment focused from the start – we will chat about the implications of moving into work. Work alongside parents and carers and raise expectations and develop a family commitment to moving into real, sustainable employment
- We will have in-depth discussions with each client to ascertain skills, qualities, ambitions and support needs, to ensure that they are fully understood
- Person Centered job matching. Proactive engagement with employers so that all needs and concerns are taken into account
- We maintain a strong relationship with employers and deliver ongoing support and advice. We ensure that reasonable adjustments are made and that the employee is working in a supportive environment.
- We have experienced job coaches available to provide job support and aftercare as and when required and aim to gradually phase out the support as required
Sixth Sense Training are passionate about championing people with learning disabilities into employment throughout Scotland. If you are interested in support or would like to find out how your business can be part of the solution by employing someone with learning disabilities please email [email protected] and one of our team will be in contact or alternatively give us a call on 01355 698011 and we will be happy to hear from you.
If you would like more information on implementing apprenticeships in your organisation, leave your details and we will get in touch.