learning difficulties

Why autism needn't be a barrier to finding a job

Ross is a Culinary Apprentice through the Lighthouse Futures Trust and loves his job

Autism and learning difficulties can often make recruitment difficult – for both the candidate and the employer. Can local forums help overcome such barriers to finding a job, and enable companies to make their workforce more diverse?

Here Sue Webster, Employer Engagement Officer at SkillsHouse Bradford and Caron Munro, Development and Programme Manager at Lighthouse Futures Trust, discuss with UCan2 the Employers’ Forum in Yorkshire which has been set up to find more people a suitable job. 

When it comes to getting young people with autism or learning difficulties into work, what are the most common barriers to recruitment?

Sara blossoms as confidence and independence grows

Growing independence and confidence grows

A woman with learning difficulties, cerebral palsy and autism is now enjoying ‘a new life’ with a high degree of independence, thanks to the dedication of staff at her supported living service in Ryde on the Isle of Wight

When 33-year-old Sara moved to Copperfield House after many years in residential care, she was unused to doing anything for herself, but as soon as staff started supporting her to do more for herself, she took to it with great enthusiasm.

From being fed ‘whatever was on the menu’ Sara now takes great delight in preparing her own meals, especially her favourites - cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese - which she will happily cook from scratch. She also enjoys shopping for the ingredients.

College's FestABLE is dedicated to specialist learning

Sally Phillips FestABLE

Youtubers, assistive technology experts and professionals working with young people who have special educational needs and disabilities will gather for the UK’s first national festival dedicated to specialist learning. Young people have helped plan FestABLE’s diverse programme which includes all sorts from the chance to go in the country’s only wheelchair-accessible hot air balloon and play with eye-gaze controlled computer games, to sessions on speech and occupational therapy, Education, Health and Care plans, early autism intervention, SEND reform and removing the barriers to achievement.

Meryem spreads her wings

Park Road

A young woman from Sittingbourne who is living proof that having learning difficulties need not stand in the way of being independent, has written her own account of the progress Park Road has enabled her to make over the past year.

Meryem Kizigol, 34, said:

“When I came to Park Road at the start of March last year I was unable to do a lot of the basic stuff. I kept myself to myself - a very lonely life. I can now do all my own laundry myself, cook, go for daily walks, do house chores and even do my own food shopping.  After a lot of support and encouragement I have been able to do this with no support from staff.”

No Barriers Radio: disabled DJs wanted to join team

No Barriers Radio Josh

A radio station set up by a DJ with learning difficulties are looking for disabled volunteers to present their shows – and are appealing for help to find a premises. No Barriers Radio is headed by station master Josh Hornsey – who is just 14 years old – and founder and chairman David Braysher, who has been DJing since 1978.

The members pre-record shows from their homes and transfer them via MP3 onto the website, nobarriersradio.com, where they can be listed to globally. Shows vary from 50s and 60s music to current pop and dance music. Anything goes and requests are welcome. 

Purley Park Trust Embraces Digital Technology to Improve Quality of Care

Purley Park Trust the charity based in Purley on Thames, near Reading which provides care services to over 80 people in the local community with learning disabilities, has recently starting using Engagement Multiplier to support its strategy of delivering an excellent standard of care to each of these individuals.

Engagement Multiplier is a digital platform and program, which helps care providers to measurably improve the levels of engagement of their staff.  The platform provides senior leaders with valuable insight and clarity around where time, effort and resource should be focused in order to deliver measurable results.