For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

I’m Werking On My…

I’m Werking On My…

The Impact of Learning Disabilities on Career Opportunities
By Charlotte Beever
Understanding the impact of learning disabilities on career opportunities

In an era where diversity and inclusion are buzzwords in every workplace, a significant portion of the workforce remains consistently absent from the conversation – individuals with learning disabilities.

Coming up to learning disability week 2024, Werk wants to highlight a statistic from the 2024 Mencap Manifesto, which illustrates the severity of this issue as the employment landscape isn’t as accessible as it should be for young women with learning disabilities, with only 26.7% of adults with a learning disability being in employment, despite a staggering 86% of unemployed individuals with a learning disability expressing a strong desire for paid work. It’s clear—our system needs a makeover.

Mencap definition and statistic pie chart

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has yet to tailor its employment programs to the unique challenges faced by those with learning disabilities. This oversight is not just a minor hiccup but a blaring gap in our social structure that leaves many behind. While well-intentioned, the Work and Health Government Programme only compensates providers with a fraction of the necessary funding if participants fail to secure employment. This financial model creates a cautious and risk-averse approach among providers.

The consequences of this systemic oversight extend far beyond unemployment statistics. Without targeted support and meaningful employment opportunities, individuals with learning disabilities face not only financial insecurity but also the mental toll of feeling undervalued and invisible in society.

It’s time for a change of direction. The Mencap Manifesto calls for re-evaluating government programs with a new commitment to inclusivity and support for those with learning disabilities. By designing employment programs that address their unique needs, we can provide a more inclusive and welcoming employment system.

Mencap believes changing the welfare system is a crucial step for helping people with learning disabilities who want to work, as many fear losing their benefits, which stops them from trying work-related activities. The DWP found that sanctions make people stay on benefits longer as they often get paid less when they find jobs.

Mencap urges the next UK government to exclude people with a learning disability from benefit sanctions and also make sure these people are treated fairly by implementing safeguards, like training for Work Coaches, to prevent people with a learning disability from being unfairly sanctioned.

Inclusion is not just a buzzword; it’s vital. The journey towards inclusivity is long, but every step counts. Let’s not leave anyone behind.