NHS staff in the north east are proudly supporting Learning Disability Work week which runs from 5 to 11 November. Learning Disability Work Week is a campaign run by the charity, Mencap to celebrate what great employees people with a learning disability can make.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), a provider of mental health and disability services are supporting the Project Choice programme which gives young people with a learning disability the skills and abilities to enable them to work.
Project Choice is a work based programme which equips young people with learning disabilities, difficulties or autism with social and work skills needed to enable them to become work ready. The project is running across the north east with several young people gaining employment which demonstrates that with the right support and guidance students can become active members of society earning a wage and contributing to the workforce.
In August this year 24 students attended a graduation ceremony after completing a yearlong placement which included spending time in work and time studying at college where they were supported in their placements by mentors within NTW.
It has been an amazing experience seeing the student flourish, become confident and looking forward to gaining either employment or further training. As a team we have learnt so much from our students, it has been a huge learning curve for everyone. It’s great seeing them enjoying working and recognising all their new skills.Gayl KeddieArea Manager for Project Choice North and South of Tyne
There are many benefits to employing a person with a learning disability. There is evidence to suggest that employees with a learning disability stay with one employer for a longer time than most other employees and take less time off work. Many employers also report that their staff team morale increases as a result of working with their colleague with a learning disability.
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and only 6% of adults with a learning disability are in paid work and this is something that the #LDWorkWeek is seeking to change.