Aspirations for Life poster launch

David poses with the new poster at Waterloo.

Learning disability campaign Aspirations for Life launched new awareness-raising posters at London’s Waterloo station yesterday.

Endorsed by Network Rail, the poster campaign highlights Aspirations for Life’s key message – that people with learning disabilities can really thrive and succeed in employment.

The Aspirations for Life website focuses on employment, and part of this involves reaching out to employers around the country. The new poster campaign seeks to grab the attention of more employers.

The Aspirations for Life team say that the sooner an employer can engage with their nearest specialist support agency or college to ensure they meet the needs of employees with learning disabilities, the better. Companies are being encouraged to take on young people with learning disabilities for work placements, with a view to turning this into a job further down the line.

23-year-old David Mason joined Network Rail on placement while he was still at school. Today, he’s a permanent employee with the company. The transport giants have seen first-hand how beneficial employment can be for people with learning disabilities and that it can benefit the company too.

At the poster launch, Network Rail’s Robin Gisby, managing director for network operations, said: “Learning disabilities are not a barrier to taking a full and active part in everyday life, which includes working for large, national organisations like Network Rail.

“As a company, we are looking for committed, professional and dedicated employees and David, who first started working for us during placements when he was at school, has all of these qualities and many more. By taking part in campaigns like Aspirations for Life, we can connect with similar people and help them develop while they help to improve the railway for millions of passengers across Britain.”

David commented: “I think that Network Rail were quite brave to take me on but now I think that quite honestly they couldn’t do without me! I have made lots of new friends during my network rail employment and I would like to thank my work colleagues for making me feel so welcome.”

To find out more about Aspirations for Life, head to aspirationsforlife.org.

66 Comments on "Aspirations for Life poster launch"

  1. Susan Turauskis | 13 September, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply

    What a good poster and message. I work with young people aged 16 – 19 on a prepartion for work course and used this in my session today, very inspiring!

  2. Good time for this stuff in the media right now, long may it continue.
    Cool poster!!!

  3. Jane Pettingell | 13 September, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply

    People with disabilites are out there showing the way on how to be an excellent employee. We often look for examples of excellence in business and should not overlook the fact that for a business to be great it has to have great employees. In my expereinece peple with a learning disability who are in paid work pay back with enthusiasm, commitment, reliability and loyalty and, of course, getting a job done. Well done to all those who work and those organisations who truely embrace the idea of a diverse workforce and recognise the value of difference. CEO Generate Opportunites

  4. This looks great! Well done.However, I really would like to see the focus on all disability, not just learning difficulties. Too often those with both physical and neurilogical conditions hit huge barriers. When I try to get work experince for these students the physical issues seem to deter far more people than the learning issues!

  5. Good to get the message across that people with a learning disability actually add value to a company rather than it just being a nice thing for companies to do

  6. Stuart Horton, Network Rail | 13 September, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply

    Yesterday was an excellent day at the campaign launch. David currently works for me in the Network Rail performance team covering the South West of England. David joined us a couple of years ago and has become an integral member of our team. Diligent, meticulous and a pleasure to work with every day; I can’t envisage a team without David now and look forward to him taking on more and greater responsibility in the future – and fully expect him to succeed when he does.

  7. Brilliant! More awareness is what we need! Working with learning disabled adults every day makes my job worthwhile! They teach me something new every day. Each person has their own special talent.
    Denise

  8. What a coup! Well done Richard. The poster is great and the message even better. The Manager’s views are also heartening and should spead in the light of the parallel Olympics.
    Jan

  9. Really pleased to see this type of publicity – go David! More employers need to stop marketing themselves out of high calibre staff.

  10. I don’t think there could be a better time for Network Rail to be endorsing this campaign – with the nation on a massive high following highly successful Olympic and Paralympic Games this is the ideal time to change peoples attitudes towards disabilities. Just as every able-bodied person isn’t an Olympian, every disabled person isn’t a Paralympian – but we all have the opportunity to make a real and valuable contribution to society. Well done Network Rail.

  11. Well done Richard for this campaign , lets hope it gives a clear and positive message to all. I work with disabled people in order for them to gain employment here at Hertfordshire PASS and we think that employers should have a clear understanding that disabled people can and should be given the right to work.

    Through our Work Club we have noticed that disabled people come across the barrier of that they cannot begin to say what they feel about work because its rarely been raised with them so we provide creative activities as theatre , arts craft etc to enable them to express their thoughts/feelings about work , that they probably would not express in mainstream work prep programmes, the second barrier being that they may have no sense of what work (especially for a disable dperson would be really like , so we address this , by inviting visitors sometimes disabled to share their work stories/experiences in response to questions from a group of participants, and the third being that they have no idea about they would present themselves for work , so we do work preparation activities such as CV writing , applying for a job , interviews etc.

  12. Venetia Carpenter | 13 September, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply

    I totally agree – well done Richard. The next time I am at Waterloo Station, I will look out for the poster.

    I do think that an awareness and understanding that disabled people can do a job but the support of Network Rail will help in increasing that awareness. Thousands of people pass through Waterloo Station on their way to work every day. Hopefully, some will read the poster and take that message to their own places of employment.

  13. Just the sort of publicity required at this time. Brilliant

  14. What a fantastic message to send out to all that people with disabilities ARE employable!!!!

  15. Great campaign! I will pass this on to my colleagues in Vietnam NGOs supporting people with disabilities.

  16. Well done, it’s a great poster and campaign ! And well done to Network Rail for giving people with LD issues real job opportunities. May other employers take note ! !

  17. Richard Lamplough | 13 September, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply

    One of my fave moments from yesterday happened after the speeches. A well spoken professional business-type approached our table and started chatting to me about the campaign. I introduced him to Francis, a young man with a learning disability who has worked for the last 12 years for Putney Waitrose as a trolley porter. Francis being Francis, launched into a celebration speech about how his life had been turned round since the introduction of a new type of trolley a few months ago. The business-type responded warmly showing genuine interest chatting to Francis for at least five minutes. “Yes,” he said, “there’s nothing worse than a supermarket trolley with a life of its own!”

    It was a moment of pure joy.

  18. It fantastic that big companies are at last realising the potential and commitment that comes from all disabled people. Lets hope more companies follow suit and give disabled people a chance to be valuable members of society.
    Well done for showing network rail what a fantastic person you are. Great poster.

  19. Great cause, great work, great dedication – pure genius. Let’s spread the word and meet everyone’s aspirations.

  20. that’s fantastic Richard! It looks like Francis was sharing his interest in what he had done , and was using his valuable skills as a trolley pusher, to use humour!

    Skills and experience like that can make disabled people come out with the best stories about what they think about their work environments!

    I fully support your campaign!

  21. Great campaign.

    People with a learning disability are more excluded from the workplace than any other group of disabled people.

    Research shows 65% of people with a learning disability want to work, and that with the right support they make highly valued employees. However, only 1 in 10 people with a learning disability known to social services are currently in paid work, and even then it is often for part-time hours and low pay.

    Hopefully these posters will encourage more employers to take on people with a learning disability.

  22. Well done on a great campaign, it’s brilliant to see a company like Network Rail both employing people with disabilities and promoting inclusion. At CHANGE we have always employed people with learning disabilities and we know that having a job, at a proper wage empowers people with and without a disability. We look forward to seeing more of the posters as they appear nationwide!

  23. Richard’s eye-catching work captures the spirit of the campaign perfectly. The message is a compelling one that employers up and down the country would do well to absorb and act upon. Each of us has the right to work, to contribute and to be productive.

    Employers: step up. It’s your turn now.

    Superbly executed – well done !

  24. What a lovely poster! Challenges stereotypes and shows that everyone has something to offer in life.

  25. What wonderful and amazing work! Bless you all!

  26. Linnet Macintyre | 13 September, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply

    Thinking network rail are probably lucky to have David and wondering how many other companies are missing out…

  27. Fantastic to be involved in the launch and this campaign!

  28. Keep up the good work!

  29. Great poster and a great campaign. People with learning disabilities can, and want to, contribute to society. Employment is a key aspiration of most people and gives us so much more than a wage (though that is important!).

    Stuart Horton’s comment above said it all – a reference any young employee could be proud of and without any mention of David’s disability.

  30. Great to see so many comments and positive reactions to the posters. When we started the Aspirations for Life proeject little did we realise the power these posters would have and thanks to Network Rail more and more people accross the country will get to think about the message! I have just passed through Waterloo Station again and WAS SO excited to see three people standing and looking at one of the posters.

    Sally Warren (Paradigm)

  31. Nancy Keim Comley | 13 September, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply

    What a fantastic poster!

    Most people with learning disabilities want to be employed and to be a part of their community. Hopefully your campaign will help people understand this fact.

  32. KAREN PEMBERTON | 13 September, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply

    Great Campaign and well done to Network Rail for providing employment opportunities and supporting the needs of Adults with Learning Disabilities. I do hope it continues and is not just a phase.

  33. Brilliant beyond words. Whilst there shouldn’t need to be a campaign like this, as long as people are short-sighted and ignorant, learning disabled people will continue to miss out. So yes, this is vital and should be widely advertised.

    Pass it on to at least 5 people or organisations you know.

  34. Great to see national awareness about something many of us have long known – we can all thrive in employment given the right chance and support. Well done to Aspirations.

  35. Fab poster.
    Pure and simple thought provoking statement which will have great impact. May it be the first of many.
    Well done

  36. vicki hassett-gray | 14 September, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply

    A great poster and a a wonderful message, in light of all the positivity generated by the paralympics lets hope companies start putting their money where their mouth is and really make a change for the good.

  37. Another young disabled person doing a great job – why should we be surprised!

    We support 700 disabled people in Surrey and always looking for extra opportunities for those who might need a bit of extra support, so if you know of any jobs in Surrey dont hestiate to get in contact……

    Great job Richard and David.

  38. It’s a shame there even needs to be a poster campaign! The right to work and be part of society should be a basic right for everyone. It’s appalling that people with learning disabilities are so marginalised. Really pleased that Aspirations for Life are doing this. Such an important message to be getting across.

    Well done from everyone at Netbuddy!

  39. Aspirations for Life has produced an excellent poster which given its prime billboarding location at Waterloo should deliver this important message to the appropriate audience. I am hopeful that this will translate into more employment opportunities for adults with a learning disability who often have exceptional qualities and talents which, as our friend in the poster comments, makes them indispensable employees.

  40. A great example of what can be achieved when we concentrate on what people can do and not what they can’t. Well done to all involved with this initiative.

  41. This is a fantastic, brilliant campagin. My nephew has learning disabilities and I want him to grow up in a world where he has as many opportunities as everyone else. The poster has such a powerful impact and in such a public place. Well done everyone!

  42. Wendy Checksfield | 14 September, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply

    Brilliant break through, the start of many i hope!!

  43. Inspiring work, well done to all involved, lots more to be achieved in changing perceptions, keep it up!

  44. What a great poster, well done David, thank you for inspiring me and reminding me what people can achieve when they have the desire and the support to enable them to to achieve their goals in life.

  45. It’s greatreat to see all of the hard work that everyone involved in the Aspirations for Life campaign has achieved at finally having their message of people’s ability in the public domain at last.

  46. Fantastic poster , well done David , what an inspiration you are !

  47. Transition Information Network | 14 September, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply

    Fantastic campaign! We love the posters. We are visiting Waterloo station tomorrow so we will take a photo with them!

  48. I love the posters! Great step in raising awareness.

  49. Preparing for Adulthood | 14 September, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply

    What a great idea. Hopefully the posters will go far and wide!

  50. National Parent Partnership Network | 14 September, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply

    Looking forward to seeeing them all over the country,

    Well done

  51. Superb work Richard!!! I love the poster: the picture and text (for me), created a sense of intrigue, and made me want to know ‘who, what, why’, etc! Very clever! :o))

  52. Aspirations for Life has produced an excellent poster in a brillian location with an inspiring message- a great reminder of what people can achieve given the opportunity and support.

  53. Let’s hope this inspires many other employers to welcome people with disabilities into the workforce. Brilliant timing at the end of the Paralympics too!

  54. Rachel Roberts-Newton | 15 September, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply

    Oh Fantastic!! I agree with Liz, what great timing after the Paralympics – I’m sure that it can only inspire and encourage more employers to “be brave” as David puts it and employ someone that soon they’ll wonder how they ever did without!

  55. What a great achievement and one that other disabled people should have opportunity to explore. Is David available to be a visitor in our ‘hot seat’ sessions where other disabled people would have opportunity to ask him questions about his experiences of overcoming the barriers he did? There is plenty of Information – Advice – Guidance ‘out there’, but little opportunity to access the stories and experiences of those who have ‘made it’.

  56. Great, inspiring and thought provoking poster and message. It couldn’t be in a better place, so many people will see it. Aspirations for LIfe- fantastic.

  57. Great to see people with learning disabilities being celebrated for their contribution to the workforce. Well done David and Aspirations For Life!

  58. Fantastic campaign truly inspiring! Keep up the great work!

  59. Inspiring and motivating, a fantastic campaign thoughtfully executed. It’s wonderful to see hard working, dedicated employees given the respect they deserve.

    I can’t wait to see the posters next time I’m in Waterloo. Even better would be for the campaign to be taken up nationally in train stations up and down the country!

    Great work.

  60. Elizabeth Flegg | 19 September, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    I will sure be looking out for the posters and it goes hand in hand with the work we are doing in the County Council creating jobs for people with learning disabiltiies. Any mechanism to encourage other employers is worth its weight in gold.

  61. The Aspirations for Life campaign was an inspiration for so many people, young people and parents. Now hopefully more employers will be inspired by the posters. It’s wonderful to see what David has achieved.

  62. Martin Humphrey | 22 September, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply

    The Aspirations for Life poster is great, as it is catching and delivers the message clearly. Having the photo of David with it adds weight and poignancy to the message.
    Best of luck handling the attention that the campaign will surely bring.

  63. This is truly wonderful and timely in the wake of paralympics. Let’s hope we can all do our bit to gain more worthwhile and meanigful opportunities for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities. Well done, your committment and dedication have proved beneficial.

  64. Inspiring poster, eye catching, fun and professionally presented – David means business. I wll have no hesitation in recommending that the students at the local Performing Arts College in Surrey take a look at your website too..fantastic!

  65. helen williams | 2 October, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply

    just fantastic – well done to everyone involved.

  66. I was told to look carefully for a new poster campaign in train stations promoting special needs. I couldn’t fail to miss the fabulous posters placed right in the heart of Waterloo station. Rush hour was littered with mobile posters placed for all to see, along with posters placed at main entry / exit points. What an amazing campaign. Huge steps forward for families and individuals with additional needs. A BIG thank you to everyone involved, and I look forward to see continued commitment in future campaigns.

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