Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, will visit a national charity’s dedicated employment and training hub later this month to see how it helps people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions in York to develop their skills and find a job.

The Labour MP will be at learning disability charity United Response’s popular ‘Café West’ service, set within York Council’s West Offices on Station Rise, on Friday 28 June 2019 from 9am.

Her visit coincides with ERSA’s (Employment Related Services Association) fourth annual Employability Day, which this year has the theme of ‘Closing the Gaps’.

United Response is holding the special event at Café West, opening it up to local employers to showcase its efforts to bridge employment gaps by supporting disadvantaged people to enter, sustain or progress in work.

Café West helps local people with learning disabilities to develop and improve their skills within catering and hospitality, helping to ‘close the gap’ for those keen to work within the industry. United Response’s wider supported employment service helps people to prepare for interviews and jobs.

Rachael will meet United Response staff as well as people with learning disabilities and autism who have been supported to find work in the local area. She will also learn how United Response’s work supports local employers and businesses to recruit from a largely unused talent pool.

United Response is committed to providing dedicated employment support to people with learning disabilities. In the UK, more than two-thirds (65%) of people with learning disabilities want a job yet only 6% have one.

City of York Council was one of nine national local authorities selected to work alongside the DWP on a regional pilot employment project in 2017, launched in response to a 2016 Government social care green paper. The initiative aimed to improve the provision of bespoke employment support to people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions across the country.

As dedicated supported employment provider for the council, United Response delivered York’s pilot and proudly helped more than half of those it supports locally into work. The pilot ran for eighteen months and concluded in May 2019.

For more information on how United Response is celebrating ERSA’s 2019 Employability Day, or for details on how the charity supports local people into work, contact Ramsay Taylor on ramsay.taylor@unitedresponse.org.uk.

Sam, who will be present at the Café West open day on Friday 28 June, was supported by United Response to secure a job at John Lewis

Sam, who has a learning disability and cerebral palsy, was supported to get a job in the catering department at John Lewis.

United Response supported her to complete her job application, prepare for and attend her interview, and attend her induction days. The charity also provided 1:1 support during her shifts, organised taxi transport to and from work, and supported her employer to ensure she was given the time to learn new areas of work at her own pace.

She works 14.5 hours per week, and her role includes dishwashing, cleaning tables, and serving customers.

Sam has since passed her probation and Food Hygiene Level 2, and received a pay rise. She now works independently, and teaches basic Makaton to her colleagues.