Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Charity helps young people with disabilities to achieve their employment ambitions

A charity has helped to place 12 young people with disabilities – physical and learning – into work placements in the past year after setting up a transitions service.

Children’s disability charity Action for Kids’ Transition Service has placed the young people on successful work placements at major businesses local to its offices in North London, including the Post Office, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and charity shops.

The Transitions Service was set up in response to requests from the young people the charity supports who wanted the chance to gain employment.

This also chimes in with a finding from the recent evaluation of the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) pathfinder programme that although some progress had been made, parents were being well-listened to but the children and young people concerned, less so.

Action For Kids participation coordinator, Colin Blandford, said: “A key requirement through the pathfinder’s coproduction approach is to listen to the voices of young people.

“Action For Kids helps young disabled people with physical and learning disabilities across the country find greater levels of independence and opportunity. And just a year ago, we set up a Transitions Service, funded by Big Lottery Fund, as a result of the request of the young people themselves who at a participation day made it very clear that the number one outcome they wanted for their lives was meaningful employment. The service so far has been a great success.

“We are always aiming for inclusion, participation and to get the voices heard of the young people we support.”

Success story

Hisba Brimah, who started at Sainsbury’s Tottenham in August this year, is one of those who has gained a work placement through the service. Brimah, 30, who has learning disabilities, said: “I’ve helped to stock products on the shelves, recycle and to pack shopping bags, always with a smile on my face. I work really hard and I enjoy it so much at Sainsbury’s. My job and the people I work with make me happy and joyful.”

Transitions officer, Elaine Harman, who leads the service, said: “So far the placements have been a great success with employers and the young people alike. The employers have been pleasantly surprised by the young people’s focus and reliability. The young people are reaping all the benefits of work, building self-esteem and feeling empowered and more confident.”

For more information, go to: www.actionforkids.org

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