Remploy, the provider of specialist employment services for people with disabilities and health conditions, is targeting what it calls the “scandalously low employment rates of people with learning disabilities”.In a campaign to coincide with Learning Disability Awareness Week, Remploy points out: “Whilst 47% of disabled people have a job, just 7% of people with learning disabilities are in employment.”Remploy believes there are 1.3m disabled people in the UK who want to work.
The aim is to raise the employment rate of people with learning disabilities to 10% over the next five years. Remploy wants recruiters to help by adopting ‘working interviews’ where the jobseeker is given a trial over several weeks to establish their suitability, rather than rely on formal interviews.
Campaign leader Tony Collins, Remploy’s learning disabilities spokesperson, has first-hand knowledge of how some people with a learning disability are treated at work.
After leaving college he worked in a sports centre where he was paid in tokens used to open changing room lockers. Later he worked for two years in a clothes shop where he was paid in coat hangers. In a third job, he worked in a department store where again he received no pay.Understandably his experience made him angry. “You can’t spend coat hangers,” he says.He adds: “People with learning disabilities want to be treated fairly and like everyone else and not left out. Also, we need to be independent, earn a wage and not live on benefits.”