Its a fact that the East Midlands has the fasted growing economy outside of london and the South East. Its also a fact that it employs the fewest people living with a learning disability at only 3.1%. In the UK the number of adults with learning disabilities in any paid/self-employment has dropped from 9,905 people in 2011/12 to 7,430 people in 2014/15 (6% employment rate), the majority of those people (71%) work less than 16 hours a week.
These figures are shocking however are we surprised who is to blame?
My opinion is that no single person, organisation or government policy is to blame for the situation. PLWD have been the victims of a perfect storm, where the skills bar is being raised so high it is out of reach. People flooding the jobs market who had been unemployed taking the low skilled temporary and part time contracts. Zero hour contracts have clearly impacted in this area as most PWLD work 16 hours or less.
What happens next
One of the Midlands premier employers, Rolls Royce
BECUKs Business partnership scheme is designed to help businesses understand the needs of PWLD as they understand those of people with a physical disability. It comprises a number of training programmes and videos which people work through at their own pace, enabling them to understand PWLD and their needs. In this way we will raise awareness and understanding. When we think of PWLD and jobs the focus is all wrong, we want organisations to look at what people can do, not what they can’t. We believe that every person has the right to reach their own unique potential, be independent and have choices about how they live their lives, be safe and have equality of opportunity in every aspect of them.
We need your help
This situation is disgraceful, however no one is directly responsible, or to blame. We know that by working together, we will be able to make a real difference to the lives of PWLD their families and carers. We need evry employer to think about how they can employe a PWLD see Kavitas idea below
Ian Clowes CEO, BECUK
Kavita Oberoi OBE, talking to me at the Signature business awards where she was the keynote speaker, about her fantastic idea for getting more people with learning disabilities into employment. Thank you Kavita.