Learning Disability Work Week 9th – 15th November


Mencap celebrates helping Richard Yendle achieve his dreams this Learning Disability Work Week (9th – 15th November 2020)

With people with a learning disability and/or autism facing significant barriers to job entry, Mencap is celebrating helping local Bristol man Richard Yendle, who has a learning disability, into employment. As a keyworker working at Sainsbury’s through the COVID crisis, Richard is one of the people society has relied on to keep the country moving through the most difficult of times.

Like many people with a learning disability Richard, from Bristol, tried hard to find work but faced many barriers:

“I just wanted a company that would take me on and give me a paid job, so I can show what I can do.”

After receiving support from Mencap, he started working at a Sainsbury’s in Bristol four years ago. Now Richard is happy and proud in his role, and does a number of roles in the supermarket from working on the tills to cleaning and assisting customers. He now has a message for other people with a learning disability:

“Take your time and be patient. Take every opportunity that comes up and be prepared.”

Employers report that people with a learning disability and/or autism are often dedicated to their job and reduce staff turnover – as well as help to boost staff morale, champion inclusion and enhance diversity within organisations.

Paid employment can help make people feel valued and equal, included in society, and increase their independence and self-esteem. But while people with a learning disability and/or autism can work and want to work, they are often shut out of employment which can have a hugely negative impact on their quality of life.

People Mencap support have often faced barriers because of stigma, a lack of understanding about learning disability and autism, and unwillingness to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Many people simply fall at the first hurdle because the recruitment process is inaccessible.

Often all that is needed is small and cost-effective reasonable adjustments to open the doors for people with a learning disability and/or autism who want to work, such as offering accessible application forms or even something as simple as holding a work trial instead of a traditional job interview. Other adjustments include offering on-the-job support through job coaches who can be provided through government funding.

Mark Capper, Head of Development in the Lifestyles & Work team at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “The world of work has been thrown upside down by COVID, now is the time for employers to think differently about who they hire. This year every employer has had to adapt and innovate to support their workforce through this unprecedented time. Including people with different experiences and skills will only enhance businesses and their offer.

“People with a learning disability and autism can work and want to work and with the right support they can also make fantastic employees – with some even working as the keyworkers we’ve all relied on to keep things moving. They just need a chance to show they can do it.”

Emily Donaghy, Recruitment Manager at Sainsbury’s said: “At Sainsbury’s we are proud to have been supported by Mencap in the past and this has helped us to hire a number of individuals with a learning disability into our retail roles across the UK. By providing us access to individuals that may not find our usual recruitment process accessible, Mencap supports us in becoming a fully inclusive employer.”

Through its employment programmes, Mencap supports people with a learning disability and autism to become more independent and develop their employability as well as helping people to find work placements. Work experience, alongside training courses, gives people the real training they need to get on the employment ladder.

Mencap is also inviting employers to find out how they can open their doors to people with a learning disability and/or autism this Learning Disability Work Week. The charity can support with everything from making application processes more accessible through to providing job coaches, ultimately helping to open opportunities for this untapped talent pool.

Follow us on Twitter @BristolMencap

Get more from Mencap. Find out more about how our Employ Me service is helping more  people with a learning disability in to paid employment. www.mencap.org.uk/employment

We’re campaigning to transform how the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital. Will you join us? Find out more at www.mencap.org.uk/treatmewell #TreatMeWell

Do you love and care for somebody with a learning disability? Visit our online community and connect with other parents and family carers. www.mencap.org.uk/onlinecommunity.