Yesterday, our campaigns and public affairs manager John Cooper, and I went to meet new Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson MP to talk to him about our work.

We were joined by our political correspondent David Allkins, who interviewed the Minister on his thoughts on supporting people with learning disabilities into employment and the importance of raising the career aspirations of young disabled people.

We talked to the Minister about how we work with young people in transition and introduced him to the Life Star: a ten-point tool designed to measure progress towards softer outcomes. Through the Star, we can track people’s progress around independent living, money management, health and social skills, and have seen huge leaps in their skills and confidence.

Upskilling young people and connecting them with employers

The crux of our support involves enabling young people to develop core and vocational skills that will boost their employability, plus linking them in with employers to give them the best possible chance of getting a paid job when they leave education.

We do this because we know that, if the aspiration to pursue a career is embedded early in a young person’s life – and is, crucially, coupled with the support they need to gain skills, confidence and links to employers – then they are far more likely to succeed.

Shared goals

It was a very positive and productive meeting. We are very pleased that the Minister clearly shares our goals of promoting independence and employment – including embracing new technology to enable people to live as independently as possible in the community – as well as great enthusiasm for the work that we do.

We hope to continue this dialogue to keep supported employment – particularly for young disabled people – on the agenda.

Watch our political correspondent's interview

In the meantime, you can see David Allkins’ interview with the Minister for Disabled People here:

Diane Lightfoot, director of policy & communications.

Find out more about how we support young people into employment, or read about our transitions work.