As you know, a learning disability is not the same as a learning difficulty. A learning disability is a lifelong condition that impacts on a person’s intellect, meaning that they are likely to take longer to learn. However, as many of you may have experienced, with the right support people with a learning disability can develop new skills and make excellent employees.

Mencap is the UK’s leading charity working with people with a learning disability and their families and carers. And they offer advice and support to employers.

The ‘People with disabilities in employment’ report (February 2019) estimates that 51.3% of people of working age with disabilities are in employment. But the number of people with a learning disability in work remains breathtakingly low, at 6%. This is a result of misconceptions about people’s abilities, or the belief that employing a person with a learning disability will create an additional workload for managers. 

Mencap’s Good for Business guide highlights the many business benefits employers are missing out on in not tapping into this talent pool. For example, the guide outlines research findings which suggest that employing people with a learning disability benefits business because they stay in entry levels longer, have low sickness/absence and have a positive impact on staff morale.

Mencap is working with companies, providing support, from learning disability awareness training to advice on how to make reasonable adjustments. And crucially, Mencap can provide a job coach to work alongside an employee with a learning disability, to help them to learn the role without any additional cost to the employer. It’s a win-win for business and for the person with a learning disability, for whom being employed is about more than earning money, it’s about feeling valued, independent and fulfilled.

If you would like to find out more about Mencap’s employment service, please visit their website or contact them helpline@mencap.org.uk or 0808 808 1111.