A report presented today (Tuesday, 9 July 2013) at the Centre for Economic and Social inclusion (CESI)’s Welfare to Work UK Convention in Manchester is calling for urgent reforms to be made to improve employment prospects for people with disabilities, including mental health problems. The report has been compiled by five members of the Disability Charities Consortium (DCC) coalition – Action on Hearing Loss, Mencap, Mind, RNIB and Scope. The report highlights the need for reform of the current system within which many people with disabilities remain far from the workplace; and makes recommendations on how to provide better support.
The report comes as concerns grow about how effectively the Work Programme is supporting disabled people into work and as the Government prepares its Disability Employment Strategy.
The report – Work in Progress: Rethinking employment support for disabled people – recommends to Government that:
- There needs to be greater involvement of employers in the design and delivery of employment support;
- The Government should incentivise greater localisation of employment support for disabled people in order to stimulate innovation;
- A more targeted approach should be taken for young disabled people who face particular challenges and often cannot access effective support.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind and Chair of the DCC, said:
“Over half of working age disabled adults are unemployed but many want to work. We are pleased that the Government is beginning to recognise and address the barriers people with disabilities face in finding, preparing for, and progressing in work through its Disability Employment Strategy. But now we urgently need to see this Strategy turned into action.
We want to see a personalised, multi-agency approach to employment support which focuses on empowering people with disabilities – by providing quality training; better assessing support needs and developing relationships with both potential employers and peers. In this tough economic climate with fierce competition for vacancies it’s also vital that more jobs and voluntary opportunities that offer flexible working hours are created. This will allow people with disabilities to take greater control over their career journeys and gain experience and expertise in appropriate, rewarding roles, which match their unique range of skills”.