Posted: Tue 9th May 2023

Toolkit launched in North Wales to advise companies on employing learning disabled adults

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 9th, 2023

Hft, the national learning disability charity, has joined forces with the North Wales Together Learning Disability Transformation Team, Welsh Government Disability Employment Champions, and multiple local councils to launch a new initiative aimed at fostering inclusive employment practices.

The ‘Tap into the Talent‘ toolkit offers practical advice to local employers to expand their recruitment processes to include people with learning disabilities.

Developed and funded by the Transformation Programme—a partnership between the six county councils and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board—the toolkit was designed by local graphic design company Graphicology Ltd. In addition, TAPE Community Music and Film was commissioned to create a film to supplement the toolkit.

The ‘Tap into the Talent’ initiative forms part of a broader strategy aimed at improving the supported employment offer for learning disabled people known to social services in North Wales. This strategy is also expected to help tackle skills shortages in the region.

Kim Killow, employment workstream lead for North Wales Together, explains the vision behind the toolkit: “We wanted to make a toolkit that had a North Wales stamp on it and promote the services of local supported employment agencies such as Hft and Agoriad Cyf to local employers.”

“We made the film to bring the messages of the toolkit to life so that employers in North Wales could hear from other employers who have already tapped into the talent.”

Julia Hawkins, Hft Flintshire’s Supported Employment Team Manager, notes that learning disabled people are highly motivated to work and, with the right support and job match, make valued employees.

She dispels some common myths, pointing out that learning disabled adults can learn a wide range of jobs with the right training and support.

Julia also shares that research has found that absence levels for learning disabled employees were 62% lower than for those considered not to have a disability.

The ‘Tap into the Talent’ toolkit is designed primarily for companies new to employing learning disabled people or larger companies with branches that haven’t yet employed them.

Tips include how to make interviews more accessible, how to advertise jobs more inclusively, and how to prepare for a new employee’s first day.

Robyn Williams, Operations Manager at Agoriad Cyf, adds: “People with learning disabilities can provide a real contribution to the workplace, bringing strengths and abilities that employers can benefit greatly from.”

Askar Sheibani, Chair of the Deeside Business Forum, emphasises the untapped potential of disabled people in tackling the worker shortage in North Wales, noting the major role initiatives like this can play in boosting the region’s economic recovery and growth.

Hft’s supported employment programme currently supports about 90 people in 130 companies, with plans to expand into Wrexham due to the ongoing skills shortage.

The toolkit is free and unique to employers in North Wales, enabling businesses following the advice to apply for the Disability Confident Employment logo.

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