Employment: Learning Disability

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of Lord Condon Lord Condon Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the full-time employment of adults with special learning needs, and what assessment they have made of how successful those measures have been in 2015.

Photo of Baroness Altmann Baroness Altmann The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Increasing disability employment is a key part of the government’s aim to achieve full employment. That is why this Government has an ambition to halve the disability employment gap by creating the opportunity for a million more disabled people to work.

The Government has a variety of initiatives and programmes in place to support and encourage people with special learning needs to find and retain work. Performance statistics are published for a number of these.

For example:

  • Access to Work provides on-going personalised in-work support for disabled people who are in work or about to start work on a full or part-time basis. Access to Work has had a Hidden Impairments Specialist Advisory team since September. We are also considering whether the Mental Health Support Service model of support could benefit those with hidden impairments other than mental health conditions. Last year Access to Work supported record numbers of people with a Learning Disability or Dyslexia recorded as their Primary Health Condition (6,580 people supported – 520 more people than in 2013/14).

  • The most recent Access to Work statistics are attached at Annex A.

  • Work Choice is a specialist disability employment programme which provides tailored support for disabled people who face the most complex employment barriers to find and stay in work. DWP has improved the referral process for Work Choice to ensure that information about candidates’ hidden impairments is shared with Work Choice providers. In 2014/15, 5,670 people with a Mild or Moderate to Severe Learning Disability recorded as their Primary Disability were referred to Work Choice. Since 2010, 19,410 people with a Mild or Moderate to Severe Learning Disability recorded as their Primary Disability have started Work Choice, of whom 8,600 have started work – giving a job outcome rate of around 44% for this group.

  • The most recent Work Choice statistics are attached at Annex B.

  • The Government’s Disability Confident campaign works with employers at a national and local level to help them to understand the benefits of employing disabled people, and promote good practice in recruitment and employment of disabled people, including people with special learning needs.

  • DWP also works in close partnership with the Hidden Impairment National Group (HING), a national network of disabled people, medical professionals/ academics and disability specific organisations. This collaboration has produced an ‘Uncovering Hidden Impairments’ toolkit, which supports organisations in both the private and public sectors to confidently recruit and retain talented individuals with hidden impairment conditions, such as special learning needs.

  • Jobcentre Plus continues to offer a range of support, including a free helpline for claimants who have difficulty making claims for benefit online because of dyslexia or similar conditions. DWP is working in partnership with Autism Alliance UK to build an autism network across Jobcentre Plus by training nominated autism leads, including Work Coaches and DEAs.

  • We have worked with Community Service Volunteers to introduce the Job-Shadowing Work Placement Initiative for young disabled people, including those with special learning needs. The first tranche had a 65% participation rate for young people having autistic spectrum conditions
Access to Work (PDF Document, 134.6 KB)
Work Choice (PDF Document, 145.68 KB)

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