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Learning Disability Week- Scotland

Learning Disability Week

Mencap message for Learning Disability Week is to urge employers to consider the benefits of employing people with additional needs. There are benefits for both the person with a learning disability and also for the organisation in which they work. A young worker Research carried out by Mencap has indicated there are a number of barriers, which make it harder for people with a learning disability to find, and stay in work. These include negative attitudes and low expectations towards people with a learning disability from employers, managers and colleagues; skills and qualifications gaps, lack of flexible, personalised employment programmes and unfair treatment and discrimination in the workplace. The week aims to highlight and remove the barriers faced by people with a learning disability to ensure they enjoy the same quality of life as the population as a whole. According to research carried out by Mencap, nearly 1 in 3 of 18-35-year-olds with a learning disability spend less than 1 hour a day outside their homes and currently 8 in 10 working-age people have a mild or moderate learning disability. However, fewer than 2 in 10 are in employment, with less than 6% in paid employment. We want to help change that.


Sixth Sense Training takes pride in being open and accessible to the needs of the employers and the employees. Therefore, we aim to match each employee with the perfect business, allowing both to thrive. Our partnership with assistive technology specialists, Concept Northern, has made this a reality. Concept Northern continually support people with disabilities and learning difficulties in employment, education and privately. Learning Disability Week- Concept Northern If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of employing a team member with a learning disability, including boosting staff morale, financial costs and improving the public image of your company by demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, then contact Sixth Sense Training. To recruit individuals with learning disabilities and to find out what job opportunities are available in your area visit www.sixthsense-training.com for further information.
Additionally, visit Mencap’s website to see if you can make a difference- Mencap employers’ resources [online] at: https://www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained/resources-employers Mencap Learning Disability Week resources [online] at:https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/learning-disability-week-2017

If you would like more information on implementing apprenticeships in your organisation, leave your details and we will get in touch.

The Right To Work

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?
    1. 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
    1. We will have in-depth discussions with each client to ascertain skills, qualities, ambitions and support needs, to ensure that they are fully understood
    1. Person Centered job matching. Proactive engagement with employers so that all needs and concerns are taken into account
    1. 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.
  1. 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.

Access To Work

At Sixth Sense Training we take great pride in championing getting young people with disabilities in to a modern apprenticeship. We work closely with our partners Concept Northern to help remove the barriers to work. Concept Northern specialise in supporting people with disabilities and learning difficulties in employment, education and privately.  Together our assessors work with the Concept Northern team to ensure those with additional needs, from autism to dyslexia, are provided with all the skills, mentoring and technology to successfully complete a Modern Apprenticeship.

ATW assessments and reasonable adjustments for Inclusion

Access to Work is a publicly funded support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support for people who have a disability or long-term physical or mental health condition. Support can be provided where someone needs help, adaptations or implementing reasonable adjustments.

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support if you have a disability, health or mental health condition to help you:

  • start working
  • stay in work
  • move into self-employment or start a business

As an Open Doors Consortium partner Concept Northern can offer an In Work Support Package which is tailored to your needs. Open Doors Consortium support is provided by specialist third sector organisations and is available to people throughout Scotland, where their employer considers additional support is required to sustain employment.

The in work support will be tailored to the needs of the individual and offers specialist employer services, which can include:

  • Access to Work application
  • Mentoring
  • Job coaching
  • Training
  • Orientation visits
  • Staff training
  • Help towards essential equipment or work clothes
  • Health and safety support
  • Personal social development

How can Access to Work help me as an employer?

Access To Work can help you:

  • hire disabled people with the skills you need
  • retain an employee who develops a disability or long-term condition (keeping their valuable skills and saving both time and money recruiting a replacement)
  • show that you value and will support your employees by having good employment policies and practices.

Access To Work can help your employee:

Your employee can get help paying for support they may need because of their disability or long-term health condition, for example:

  •  aid and equipment in the workplace
  • adapting equipment to make it easier for them to use
  • communication support at interviews
  • a wide variety of support workers, and
  • the Mental Health Support Service
  • other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a sign-language interpreter

To find out more about how Concept Northern can help with Access To Work, download their guide or email [email protected]

Click to download their Access To Work guide

Contribution by Chris Barrance, Concept Northern