Leeds Beckett and Mencap team up for Learning Disabilities Work Experience Week
The campaign, established by learning disability charity Mencap, and Inclusive Employers, runs from Monday 10 – Sunday 16 November and aims to encourage employers to think differently about who they recruit and to understand the benefits that raising disability employment can bring to the UK economy.
Following a successful placement within the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Sciences earlier this year, Leeds Beckett’s CommUNIty initiative, which promotes the development of sustainable partnerships between voluntary/community organisations and the University, is working with Mencap to identify ways in which the University can support people with a learning disability to gain employment.
During the week beginning Monday 10 November, Vicky Hiles who has a learning disability and is supported by Mencap, will work with Leeds Beckett’s Equality and Diversity team. During her week at the University, Vicky will be attending a number of advisory groups and forums around equality and diversity as well as providing administrative support to the team.
Karl Witty, who leads on the CommUNIty initiative at Leeds Beckett, explained: “Leeds Beckett University is committed to providing fair and inclusive employment opportunities. We are incredibly proud to be part of Learning Disability Work Experience Week 2014. The campaign complements our CommUNIty initiative, which promotes joint working between our University and community organisations with a view to helping reduce inequalities and improving health and wellbeing within our community. A recent Mencap placement, supported by the initiative, demonstrated the huge worth in working with Mencap and we look forward to future collaborations.”
Mark Capper, Business Development Manager at Mencap, added: “With only 7% of people with a learning disability in paid work, more must be done to help increase opportunities to develop work skills and aid with the progression into employment. People with a learning disability have an equal right to work as anyone else. The companies we have worked with realise this and are also beginning to realise that offering work placements to people with a learning disability does not only help the individual, but can be profitable for their business as well.”
The Social Market Foundation estimates that raising disability employment to the national average would boost the UK economy by at least £13 billion. People with a disability have been proven to have low sickness rates and higher job satisfaction levels. Employing a person with a learning disability has been shown to offer a potential saving of £2,000, based on absence cover and recruitment costs.
Image: Katrina Tilbrook, Equality & Diversity Manager, Leeds Beckett University