All Wales People FirstNational 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.

Unanimous decision

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.”