Local MP and Minister of State for Work and Pensions, Mark Hoban, visited Mencap Hampshire Employment Service in Fareham on Friday (15 March) to meet people with a learning disability.
He talked with Charlotte McAllister, who has a learning disability, about the difficulties she faced in finding employment and how the Mencap service has supported her to find a job. Charlotte is now a Support Worker in one of Mencap’s local Care and Support services, and is working full-time, 40 hours a week, thanks to the Mencap Hampshire Employment team.
Less than 7% of people with a learning disability who are known to social services are currently in paid work, and even then it is often for part-time hours and low pay. This is despite the fact that many people with a learning disability want to work, and can make a significant contribution to the workplace.
The Mencap Hampshire Employment Service at Admiral House delivers the government’s Work Choice programme as a subcontractor of CDG-WISE Ability. Work Choice is an employment programme that helps severely disabled people into work. The Hampshire service is one of CDG-Wise Ability’s most successful providers, winning awards in 5 out of 11 categories at CDG-Wise Ability’s Work Choice celebration event in December 2012.
During the visit, the minister spoke with staff at the service about the ways that they have helped local people in Hampshire to find work over the 10 years in which they have been active in the region.
Mark Hoban, MP for Fareham and the Minister of State for Work and Pensions, said: “It was really encouraging to see the excellent work being done by Mencap and CDG to help disabled people into work.
“Disabled people should have the same choice of jobs as everyone else, so we’re providing support to help them overcome barriers to work.”
Emma Harrison, Assistant Director at learning disability charity Mencap said: “We are really pleased that the minister came to see the great work that Mencap’s employment service does in supporting people with a learning disability to find a job.
“We know that many people with a learning disability want to work, yet currently less than 7% are in work. As well as getting the support right, we need to continue working with employers to help break down the barriers that people with a learning disability face when trying to get a job.”
To find out more about the Work Choice Programme through Mencap, visit: www.mencap.org.uk/employment
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.