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Learning disability employment scheme launches prospectus to help people into work

A pioneering employment scheme for people with learning disabilities has launched a prospectus of opportunities to help vulnerable people into work.

There is an employment crisis among people with learning disabilities, with just five per cent of them in paid work.

In an effort to address the situation, south-coast charity Minstead Trust has produced a prospectus and video of its training and work experience opportunities for people with learning disabilities.

The prospectus details how people can dip their toe into the world of work through supported work experience to identify areas they are interested in working within.

It also includes the Step Up For Work programme, where participants receive training with an aim to progress towards a work placement and then paid employment. Graduates of the scheme include Rhianne, who gained work experience with Minstead Trust before progressing to her very first paid job with Paulton’s Park.

People can also benefit from traineeships, which are on-the-job training roles that teach customer service skills and basic Maths and English. Past trainees include Rachel, who benefited from gaining confidence to start an apprenticeship. She has now progressed into managing a café independently in Portsmouth.

Finally, people can look to progress towards supported apprenticeships and take on more responsibility in a role within Minstead Trust’s Lily&Lime cafés. Louisa said of her apprenticeship at Lily&Lime: ‘The apprenticeship programme has helped me to become more confident. I have realised how much work I can do independently and enjoy learning new things on my course.’

Chris Hillman, Head of Employability at Minstead Trust, said: ‘I am delighted that Minstead Trust is committed to offering employability programmes to people with learning disabilities. This prospectus is a perfect one-stop-shop for anyone looking to find out more about the world of work or progress towards a paid role.’

‘Currently just 5.1% of people with a learning disability are in paid work, and the success stories you read throughout this prospectus are exactly why we are working to increase this figure. Having a job can make a huge differences to the happiness and self-worth of all of us, and that applies equally to people with learning disabilities.’

As well as seeking people with learning disabilities looking to join its employability programme, Minstead Trust is always talking to local business partners interested in taking up the opportunity of hosting training placements or employing people with learning disabilities, thus improving the diversification of their workforce. Minstead Trust offer support to employers throughout the employment process to ensure they feel confident and can reap the benefits of taking on someone with a learning disability.

Charlie Green of Milestone Infrastructure which employs one of the scheme graduates said ‘Having a more diverse workforce creates a more purposeful work environment, it gives people pride in that you are delivering as a business more than just bread and butter. It gives our workforce that extra edge to stay with us.’

From the placements they’ve facilitated, Minstead Trust have seen a hugely positive response from employers. Chris Hillman said of programme graduates working at Lily&Lime: ‘They have taken on so much responsibility and done so much good work. We were genuinely concerned that these cafés would not function if they left!’

Minstead Trust supports more than 200 people with learning disabilities along the south coast through supported living accommodation, day opportunities and employment training.

Download the prospectus, find out more about the scheme and see how you or someone you know can get involved

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