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Supporting people with learning disabilities during job applications
By Trudie Whitham
Image: supporting job applications text

Mencap’s final topic for Learning Disability Week is ‘will you support me?’, so when it comes to the world of careers, how do we make sure we’re championing this for people that live with disabilities?

As of 2022, there were 870,000 working age people with a learning disability in the UK.

According to Mencap’s Big Learning Disability Survey, just over a quarter (26.7%) of the respondents that were of working age were employed at the time. However, 86% of those with a learning disability who were not in work said they would indeed like to have a job.

People with learning disabilities can sometimes find it more difficult to learn, understand and communicate – especially when it comes to new situations, such as careers, employment, and interviews.

Mencap suggests, to make finding new employment easier for people with a learning disability, is for companies to alter their recruitment processes.

Online-only applications, formal interviews, and unrelated qualification requirements can create barriers between applicants with a disability and a job that they’d love to do.

Here’s some ways in which job industries can support people with learning disabilities during application processes:

  • Publicly welcome applications from disabled people
  • Make sure application information is accessible
  • Organise recruitment days
  • Allow paper applications
  • Don’t completely rule out candidates with little or no experience
  • Offer ‘work trials’
  • Trade interviews for short, practical assessments of a person’s skills
  • For interviews, let candidates know what to expect in advance

By taking these steps, organisations can therefore be more inclusive and show outward support for the people that need it most. By supporting those with learning disabilities throughout application processes it can therefore encourage more people to apply for jobs without unneeded pressure and anxiety.

When 86% of people who are unemployed and have learning disabilities are actively wanting a job then we must look to corporations to see what can be changed in order to support them and make achieving their goals easier.

Additionally, Mencap have also created a graph showing how people with learning disabilities can be supported and guided towards securing paid job roles:

Data and graph sourced from Mencap