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Speakers for Schools

"Speakers for schools join forces with disability charities to provide 2,000 work placements to disabled young people”

Is this a sign of things changing and more support being available for helping those with disabilities get back into work?

Speakers for Schools has partnered with different organisations such as Mencap to provide work experience to 2,000 young people across the UK with a disability or Special Educational Need. They are working with companies such as Tesco, Morgan Sindall, and Cambridge University Press. Currently they are offering placements to 14–19-year-olds.  They believe that flexible working could unlock almost 1.5 million people who have a physical disability, and where previously locked out from work, to enter or return to the jobs market.

‘Currently the disability employment gap is still huge, and it is believed that it needs to be addressed which is why there has been the access all areas which is where they have been working with employers to raise awareness of employing people with disabilities to identify roles that they will excel at.  It is also believed that young people with disabilities need tailored careers guidance to help them be more confident when applying for a new position and to give them the knowledge to know what is out there’ Rachel Saunders (Education and Policy Director at Speakers for School).

Mark Capper from Mencap said ‘We are delighted to be working with Speakers for Schools. Offering people with a learning disability and or autism a chance to engage with employers to get a sense of what having a job is like is a vital part of developing confidence and aspirations’. ‘Working can be more than just a job it can make people with a learning disability and or autism feel valued and included in society. Yet because of societal stigma and significant barriers to employment many do not get the chance they deserve to show what they can do.’  It is really important that people with disabilities can access the right support and opportunities as this can make all the difference from being unemployed to being employed in a position they really enjoy doing.

Could this lead to more support being out there for people with disabilities or those long term unemployed to help remove the barriers to employment within the East Anglian Region? Currently 71% of disabled people in employment in March 2020 were affected by the pandemic, either through loss of income, being put on furlough or being made redundant. This has had a huge impact on people with disabilities, the figures prior to coronavirus were hard enough to stomach!

At Norfolk Industries we have been supporting people to get back into work for the past few years, something that is clearly becoming more of a focus, especially within the Government. We have been completing the EVOLVE programme to allow candidates with learning disabilities, including autism, to increase their skills for employment and hopefully make them more employable. Could this see more support available to people with a disability and more help for companies that offer their support?

This is a really interesting topic that should allow for a better understanding of the requirements for reasonable adjustments within the workplace for those with a disability. Hopefully this will be the start of good things to come!