People with a learning disability have the chance to undertake work experience at some of the UK’s biggest employers this week as part of Learning Disabilities Work Experience Week.
Currently just 7% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment. The Social Market Foundation estimates that raising disability employment to the national average would boost the UK economy by at least £13 billion. People with a disability have been proven to have low sickness rates and higher job satisfaction levels.
Since last year a range of new companies have signed up to the 2014 event, which runs from 10–16 November and is organised by learning disability charity Mencap and Inclusive Employers. Companies involved this year include commercial property company Land Securities, fast food retailer McDonald’s, South West Trains and the British Red Cross.
“Inclusive Employers initiatives such as Learning Disabilities Work Experience Week allows us to make companies aware of the social and commercial benefit of employing people with a disability, and gives our members new perspectives on inclusion and opportunities to harness different talent,” said Richard McKenna of Inclusive Employers. “Working with Mencap has allowed us to create workplace cultures where all people are valued equally and where all people can add value.
“We were delighted that Learning Disability Work Experience Week 2013 was so successful and we hope this year will have greater impact.”
Mark Capper, business development manager at Mencap, added: “With only 7% of people with a learning disability in paid work, more must be done to help increase opportunities to develop work skills and aid with the progression into employment. People with a learning disability have an equal right to work as anyone else. The companies we have worked with realise this and are also beginning to realise that offering work placements to people with a learning disability does not only help the individual, but can be profitable for their business as well.”