National learning disability self-advocacy organisation All Wales People First has appointed Joe Powell as its national director, after a nationwide competitive recruitment campaign.
The All Wales People First National Council, all of whom have a learning disability, have reached a point in the development of the organisation where they are confident and ready to move forward, led by a director with a learning disability.
A recruitment campaign attracted more than 30 applicants with 9 selected to go forward for interview. A two-day interview process comprised group work assessments, social skills exercises, presentations and a formal interview.
The interview panel were unanimous in selecting Joe Powell, who is 36 years old and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 1996. He is currently studying for a degree at Newport University.
“It is a pleasure to be appointed as national director for All Wales People First,” said Powell. “As a long-term public speaker and campaigner for learning disability rights, it is an honour and a privilege to represent one of the very few organisations who genuinely empower and campaign on behalf of all people with learning disabilities. The importance of self-advocacy can never be underestimated, especially in these very challenging political times and I envisage that our movement will play a pioneering role in the political process and in challenging public perceptions about learning disabilities both in the present and in the future.”