Two young people with learning disabilities met with disability minister Esther McVey on Tuesday to emphasise the importance of support in training and the employment process.
Lewis Scott and Rachel Holmes met with McVey as a result of their involvement in learning disability charity Mencap’s Changemakers programme, which encourages young people with a learning disability to influence positive change in their communities.
Holmes and Scott, along with 13 other young people, formed the Liverpool Changemakers group, which has campaigned locally on the challenges of getting a job for young people with a learning disability.
They told the Minister how important it is for people to receive support during the application and interview process, and that it is crucial that applicants with a learning disability are well supported by careers advisers. They were concerned that many young people with a learning disability still face discrimination in the world of work, as employers don’t understand learning disability.
“People with a learning disability need support in jobs. We need support in training. We told Ms McVey, she listened to what we said,” said Holmes. “We’re hoping she’ll be able to help.”
Scott added: “More people with a learning disability should be in work – we want work and we can work.”
Emma Harrison, assistant director at Mencap, attended the meeting and said: “Young people with a learning disability are some of the most marginalised members of our society. They face stigma, discrimination and many other difficulties that restrict the choices they can make in their lives. But what people don’t realise is just what these young people can achieve with the right support.
“Young people are finding it harder than ever to get a job at the moment, but those with a learning disability face an even tougher battle as they experience many additional barriers to work. We hope that Esther McVey will encourage the Employers’ Forum to consider better, more inclusive ways of working with young people with a learning disability.”