Essex has over 35,000 adults with a Learning Disability and or Autism. A large percentage of these adults who long for a paid job face barriers to employment! Getting a job is a significant challenge and keeping a paid job seems like mission impossible!
Many young people with learning disabilities and autism leave school and then spend most of their adult life in college learning new skills, building on old skills, re-learning and then doing the same courses all over again. For many getting a voluntary role seems like hitting the jackpot. Really! Is this all we aspire to.
Despite their best efforts, people tell us they struggle to get off the starting blocks, with many being unsuccessful with their job applications despite having lots of skills. It is becoming harder and more frustrating for adults with a Learning Disability and Autism to secure meaningful paid employment. When you keeping trying, and keep trying and you get the same result, well, you may as well stop trying.
Being employed helps to build confidence, self-esteem and increases a person’s self-worth. Having a job is about more than earning money. Having a job helps people to feel more independent, valued and can give them goals and aspirations.
We must all do more, employers and services must do more to support people with Learning Disabilities and Autism into real work and to address the challenges faced such as the impact of work on benefits and earning limits.
Where is the best starting point? Connecting to the employment services that could help and support people with learning disabilities and autism to find employment, help them through the job application process and address people’s concerns and worries about things we take for granted, such as travel training and managing their money. We know these services are out there somewhere. Its like being given a ‘join the dots’ exercise but no pen. We need to work together better.
Over the next couple of months AB4D will be exploring some of the barriers people tell us they face.