At The Assist Trust we work with adults with learning disabilities to help them progress towards paid and supported employment. In a diverse and inclusive society, the significance of empowering adults with learning disabilities to find meaningful employment cannot be over stated. Unlocking the untapped potential of this capable workforce not only enriches the lives of those who are employed but also brings about a host of benefits for businesses and society. By recognising and harnessing the strengths and talents of adults with learning disabilities, not only are barriers dismantled but a path towards a more compassionate future is created.
Care providers have the opportunity to play a crucial role in assisting this potential workforce to gain meaningful employment by providing comprehensive support and guidance throughout the employment journey. By conducting thorough assessments of each individual’s abilities, strengths and interests, suitable employment opportunities that align with their skills and preferences can be identified.
By regularly assessing the progress of individuals in their employment, identifying any areas that need further development and providing additional support as necessary then adults with learning disabilities can be empowered to overcome barriers and achieve meaningful, paid employment leading to greater independence and overall well-being. It is essential to maintain good communication with service users, their families and the employers.
The role of co-production within this process is paramount. Co-production empowers individuals with learning disabilities by giving them a voice in the decision-making process. They become active participants in shaping the employment support they receive. With co-production, the focus shifts from a one-size-fits-all approach to personalised and individualised strategies. Through open dialogues and shared decision-making, the preferences and aspirations of individuals are better understood.
The journey towards securing meaningful employment for adults with learning disabilities assumes a profound importance in creating a world where every individual can contribute their skills and capabilities, and no talent is left behind. Care providers are often the best placed people to provide the gateway to this employment. We all have a part to play.
Employment journeys at Assist Trust are successful as a result of getting to know members naturally and organically and building on member’s life skills such as increasing confidence and wellbeing. Living and dealing with problems in the real world serve as the initial foundations for growth and development and then employment ready skills can be developed from there in a bespoke manor.
The Assist Trust Employment Team and our service users suggest these top tips for gaining meaningful paid and voluntary employment.
#1: Be Honest. Be honest about what you want to get from a work placement. If you are honest with yourself about why you want to be in a placement then your chances of finding the right fit grow.
Top Tip #2: Be Enthusiastic. It is so important to jump in with both feet and do everything you can to get the most out of the experience. There is a lot to learn so go for it!
Top Tip #3: Enjoy it. Ultimately the placement will be most beneficial if you enjoy it. Have fun with the people you work with and learn new things. If you are not enjoying the placement then it’s time to look at Tip #1 again and be honest with the employer and your job coach!
“I have a supported job as a gardener at a care home. If I have a problem I can go to the Employment Team. They always keep an eye on how I’m getting on!” – Wayne.
“I feel I have a purpose and a place in the world, it’s a nice feeling that.” – Alan.