Two young Liverpudlians with a learning disability went to the House of Commons to meet the Disability Minister Esther McVey yesterday, to talk about how more people with a learning disability can be supported into work.
Lewis Scott and Rachel Holmes met with Esther McVey as a result of their involvement in Mencap’s groundbreaking programme, Changemakers,which encourages young people with a learning disability to influence positive change in their communities.
Rachel and Lewis, along with thirteen other young people, formed the Liverpool Changemakers group, which has campaigned locally on the challenges of getting a job for young people with a learning disability.
Lewis and Rachel told the Minister how important it is for people to receive support during the application and interview process to find a job, and that it is crucial that applicants with a learning disability are well supported by careers advisers. They were concerned that many young people with a learning disability still face discrimination in the world of work, as employers don’t understand learning disability.
Changemaker Rachel Holmes says: “People with a learning disability need support in jobs. We need support in training. We told Ms McVey, she listened to what we said. We’re hoping she’ll be able to help.”
Changemaker Lewis Scott said: “More people with a learning disability should be in work – we want work and we can work.”
The pair presented a report to Esther McVey, Want work, can work, which the Liverpool Changemakers group have written.
Emma Harrison, Assistant Director at learning disability charity Mencap, attended the meeting and said: “Young people with a learning disability are some of the most marginalised members of our society. They face stigma, discrimination and many other difficulties that restrict the choices they can make in their lives. But what people don’t realise is just what these young people can achieve with the right support.
What I witnessed today were two inspirational young people with a learning disability fighting for the changes they need to help them live an independent life. Young people are finding it harder than ever to get a job at the moment, but those with a learning disability face an even tougher battle as they experience many additional barriers to work. We hope that Esther McVey will encourage the Employers’ Forum to consider better, more inclusive ways of working with young people with a learning disability.”