Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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4 Supporting people into work

Although some people with learning disabilities look for work independently, many people are supported through schemes that are publicly funded. These schemes are usually funded by local authorities or the NHS, which view getting people into work as making a positive contribution towards good health and social care.

The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) carried out a research project (Grieg et al., 2014) which looked at what helps people with learning disabilities into employment. They wanted to know if particular approaches were more successful than others, and what the cost of these different approaches might be.

Activity 4 The cost of supported employment

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

How much do you think it costs on average to help a person with learning disabilities find a new job, or keep a job they already have?







The correct answer is c.


In actual fact, NDTi’s research showed that on average it costs £8218 to help a person with learning disabilities find or retain work. But this is just an average. The actual spread of the cost was much wider than this. Some services were doing it for as little as £208, and some cost £57,640 per person.

Interestingly, the NDTi’s research showed that services that were doing really well at getting people into work, and helping people to keep their jobs, were by no means the most expensive. Further, the research showed that these good employment services also managed to get a whole range of people into work, including people with mild, moderate and severe learning disabilities.

Activity 5 What works?

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

What things do you think might help improve a scheme’s chances of supporting a person with learning disabilities to get and keep work?

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The NDTi’s research showed that the most important factors were that the services were highly personalised, with excellent support available both for the individual and the employer.

Their research also showed that the local authority and NHS Trusts who were paying for these support services had a major part to play as well. Employment outcomes are improved when local authorities and the NHS view getting people into work as a real priority.

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