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Londoners with a learning disability take their first step into work

20 Jun 2018

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As part of Learning Disability Awareness Week, Remploy, the disability employment specialist, is highlighting support available for people with a learning disability in London, through the Steps into Work (SiW) programme that it runs in partnership with Transport for London (TfL) and Barnet and Southgate College.

The programme, which is now in its ninth year, offers people with learning disabilities the opportunity to gain work experience over the course of a year via three unique work placement opportunities, while studying for a BTEC Level 1 WorkSkills qualification.

The purpose of the programme is to promote independence and move participants closer to employment, with 86 per cent* of those taking part in the programme moving into employment, further education or training twelve months after completing the programme.

John Ajakaiye, Business Manager for Remploy London said: “Just 6 per cent of people with a learning disability in England are in work, despite about 60 per cent wanting to work. Work placement programmes can be a successful route into work, enabling people with a learning disability to prove their competency on the job rather than through a formal interview process, which can be daunting. The SiW programme opens up opportunities for people to work for an iconic organisation in London and we’re delighted to partner with TfL and Barnet and Southgate College on this programme.”

Remploy provides specialist job coaching for participants while they are on the programme and afterwards. This includes working closely with them to ensure they have the development opportunities and tools needed to complete specific tasks and helping them to effectively manage their own wellbeing, social skills, confidence and mental health.

Tricia Wright, Chief People’s Officer at TfL, said: "Our Steps into Work scheme opens up the chance for people with learning disabilities to help us deliver better transport services for a world-leading city. Working with Remploy and Barnet and Southgate College, this programme benefits everyone living and working in London. Steps into Work offers participants the opportunity to learn new skills while studying as well."

After completing the SiW programme, 24 year old David Yeboah, from Tottenham, went on to gain his dream role with TfL. He said: “The Steps into Work programme has given me a lot of confidence in myself and my ability. Remploy helped by giving me useful tips for my job, such as making sure I was writing tasks down, so I didn’t forget them. My Remploy job coach also helped me with my CV and with preparation for my interview, because I struggled with this before.

“In my new role, I really enjoy getting to mix with different people and learning about people's cultures. Working gives me a sense of purpose and makes me want to get up in the morning. It also makes me feel more independent, which is nice as I don’t have to rely on my parents any longer.”

Compared to the rest of England, London has the highest proportion of adults with a learning disability known to their local authority in paid employment, at 7.7 per cent (HSCIC 2015).

For more information on Steps into Work please click here or call 020 3054 2718.

* Figures for 2015/2016 cohort