Special workers have a lot to offer
8:30am Thursday 14th March 2013 in Latest News
AN ORGANISATION that supports people with disadvantages into paid employment has set Swindon employers a challenge to get four people who have learning disabilities jobs by the end of March.
SEQOL energy2work, which offers training and employment support for people with disabilities and health conditions, is asking employers to take a fresh look at the benefits that employing someone who has learning disabilities.
Ann King, SEQOL energy2work’s supported employment project manager, says although disabled people and those with health conditions make valuable employees, they are far less likely to be employed.
Yet many firms who do employ people with learning disabilities find them to be excellent workers with some very valued and specific skills that other employees may lack.
“The shocking figures are that 65 per cent of people with learning disabilities want to work and yet only seven per cent manage to find paid work,” said Ann.
“This is a very talented resource pool which many employers are simply missing out on.
“Our experience is that the employers who have recruited via our project are delighted with the results and the calibre and work ethic of the individuals.”
SEQOL energy2work works in partnership with Job Centre Plus to teach skills that will help them find jobs in areas such as administration, catering, manufacturing and production.
Companies that have already taken part in energy2work’s drive to place people with disabilities include Nationwide, Carillion, Swindon Marriott, Accord, FMW Recycling, and McDonalds restaurants.
Ann emphasises that energy2work, which exceeds national targets for securing mainstream employment for supported employees, matches potentially suitable employees with employers, and then offers ongoing support to those companies and organisations.
Often, someone with learning disabilities will complete a work placement, supported by SEQOL, before starting paid employment.
“It’s very much a win-win situation,” Ann said.
“Employers find dedicated, hard working staff. And having a job really adds value to the lives of disabled people who have been given the chance to earn a living.”
To learn more about offering a part-time or full-time job to someone with learning disabilities who is on energy2work’s programme call Jo Buechel on 01793 463337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANN King says many employers say people from energy2work’s services are extremely loyal, hardworking and ideally suited to many employment opportunities.
“There are no agency fees, a wealth of experienced people to make the process easy and the knowledge that they are putting their corporate social responsibility to work,” said Ann.
FMW Recycling managing director Helena Dunne says she highly values the employees she employs who have autism.
“We have had some bad experiences with staff – unreliability, people who go sick a lot or take breaks every 30 minutes – but Josh and Adrian are a credit to our company,” she said.
“They do quite demanding work that requires high levels of concentration.
“If they drop a single screw they find it and place it in the right box. They are such precision workers. I really wouldn’t be without them.”