People with learning disabilities in work
By Victoria Smith
Victoria works at Stay Up Late as the Gig Buddies Assistant and has a learning disability. In this article she looks at the paid employment prospects for people with learning disabilities and what can be done to improve things
In research 6% of people with learning disabilities in the UK are in paid work. This means 94% are not in paid jobs, which is one of the main problems in the UK at the moment. I believe it could be far better. I think we need to find out more why people with learning disabilities are not getting paid jobs. I think we’re not really being given an answer as to why and the reasons why the percentage is so low. It could be to do with people who have benefits and if they were in a paid job the benefits could be taken off them.
My own story
I am in a paid job, which means I am one of the lucky ones. But I can only do 16 hours a week or it will affect my benefits and they could be taken off me, so I would have to pay for housing benefits and tax. This would lead me into getting really stressful and having to get a full time job. But I still have to go to benefits meetings and talk about my job. I still get asked if I want to have a full time job and I think not because it would be overwhelming to do more hours and I would get really tired and drained and it wouldn’t be good for my health.
What we could do to make it better
We can talk about it more to big companies and try and make them understand there is a problem here. And ask why people who go to prison can get a job and get paid and people with learning disabilities can’t. The 6% figure needs to get up. We could write letters to the MPs and ask why there is a big problem and can it be solved. We talk at conferences to make more people aware it is a thing, so that it comes up more.
There are amazing stories of people in paid work and we should hearing about it.