According to learning disability charity, Mencap, only six per cent of people with a learning disability are in paid employment. However, over 60 per cent would like to be.
Learning Disability at Work Week takes place this week (18–22 November), celebrating the valuable contributions people with learning disabilities make in the workplace.
Launched by Mencap, the week aims to highlight the low levels of employment faced by people who have a learning disability, and what employers can do to make their workplace more accessible.
According to Mencap, a learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability, which can make everyday tasks – such as household chores, socialising and managing money – more difficult.
With one in 50 people in the UK having a learning disability, but only six per cent in paid employment, much more must be done to eradicate barriers to work.
Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people.
Employment is vital to enable people who have a learning disability to earn their own money and have a better quality life, as a result. Employment also offers the opportunity to carry out meaningful work, which can have a huge impact on mental health.
As well as this, paid employment offers independence, a chance to socialise and meet new friends, and gain transferable skills that can be applied to other industries. Finding paid employment can develop professional skills and also improve confidence.
As well as this, Mencap found that employees with a learning disability take fewer sick days, are reliable timekeepers and stay in a role 3.5 times longer than non-disabled employees.
So, not only does employment have a hugely positive impact on people who have a learning disability, but it can have an important effect on businesses, too: from willingness to learn and motivation, to dependability and friendliness.
For more information about Learning Disability at Work Week and how you can get involved, visit Mencap.