On Monday the Government published their eagerly awaited consultation asking how to transform employment prospects for disabled people, in order to fulfil their pledge of halving the disability employment gap.

United Response welcomes the intention of the Government to improve employment opportunities for disabled people and the green paper is a step in the right direction.

It is now widely acknowledged that disabled people are twice as likely as the general public to be unemployed but the people furthest from the workplace are people with a learning disability with only 6.8% in paid employment. Depressingly, this figure has not shifted for 20 years – and a recent roundtable we attended on Monday suggested the figure had dropped yet further, to a paltry 5% - and therefore it is time for the Government to make real changes to drive lasting reform forward. 

We know from our own experience that the vast majority of people with a disability want to work. To get people to the workplace and over the numerous barriers in their way, they require a specialised targeted employment support programme. But we know that one size does not fit all and that nothing meaningful will happen without proper funding to support it. So, in order for the Government to halve the disability employment gap the first step we would recommend would be:-

  • The creation of a clear and specific pathway towards the workplace for people with a learning disability.

In order for this pathway to be successful, it would need:  

  • Personalised assessment for each jobseeker with a learning disability to establish a person centred support plan.

And then…

  • Real terms government investment in targeted employment support from specialist local providers, who can deliver the personalised route needed to secure permanent employment.

We are raising the aspirations of the people we support and those around them to see meaningful employment as their right.  We will therefore be talking directly to the people we support to ensure that their views are embedded into our response to this consultation.

This green paper is only one step in moving more people with a learning disability into the workplace where they want to be.  In order to close the disability employment gap we need to change attitudes with employers, so we are also pleased to see that the Government has relaunched their Disability Confident campaign raise awareness of the huge untapped potential in this willing – yet often overlooked - group of employees.

Find out more about United Response's supported employment servicesRespond to the work, health and disability consultation

Sign up to the Disability Confident employer scheme