Disabled People: Employment Opportunities

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 13th September 2021.

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Photo of James Daly James Daly Conservative, Bury North

What steps she is taking to help ensure that disabled people can take up employment opportunities during the economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

We are committed to seeing 1 million more disabled people in work, supporting that through initiatives including the work and health programme, access to work, disability confident and increasing the number of disability employment advisers to over 1,000. We want to help more disabled people to prepare for, start, stay and succeed in work where it is right for them.

Photo of James Daly James Daly Conservative, Bury North

The Minister and the Secretary of State have a proud record of putting in place programmes that increase opportunities for everyone to access high-quality employment and training. Further to his earlier answer, can the Minister confirm what specific steps he is taking to ensure that the bespoke needs of people on the autistic spectrum are no barrier to accessing employment or training opportunities? Will he join me in thanking local organisations in Bury, such as the Met theatre which runs confidence-building sessions for children on the autistic spectrum, for the role they play in developing the skills that each child needs to thrive in the job market?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend highlights the absolute importance of supporting people with autism into work, highlighting the supported internships, traineeships, local supported employment pilots, intensive personalised employment support and disability apprenticeships, in addition to the broader options across the work and health programme and plan for jobs. We are currently consulting through the Department for Work and Pensions Green Paper on other ways to improve disability employment opportunities. Best practice, as seen in places such as the Met theatre, is exactly the sort of thing we want to learn lessons from.