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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

3 Having a job

Being in work can be a positive experience for people with learning disabilities, but it can also present some challenges.

Activity 2 Experiences of work

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this short video of some of the actors from Access all Areas, a theatre company for people with learning disabilities, talking about their experiences of work over the years. Then answer the questions below.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 3
Skip transcript: Video 3

Transcript: Video 3

At a charity shop that shall remain nameless, a local charity shop, I did some awful work experience there. I was basically there to kind of stack things on shelves. But that's not where-- that's why I thought I was going to be there to do. But I wasn't. I was putting clothes on cloak hangers behind the charity shop, in a little room that smelt pretty bad. And it was full of really rough, unpleasant people.
Yeah. I always like enjoying the acting. And it's one of my favourite things. And it's also part of, it’s also a learning experience, as well.
I did, through Lewisham college, I was actually a support teacher for cooking. Would you believe it? Because they wouldn't let me do my cooking course because of health safety with my wheelchair So they said you can teach in the cooking course for disabled people. So that's what I did. And I got paid for it, which was cool.
You know, since I've been on telly, I've also done theatre, and also done the diploma. Yeah so things have been absolutely a step up.
End transcript: Video 3
Video 3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
  1. Cian’s experience at the charity shop was:






met his expectations

The correct answer is b.

  1. Dayo describes his acting work with Access all Areas as:


a learning experience


a job that has given him opportunities


a temporary job while he finds something else

The correct answers are a and b.

  1. Terry’s job at the college meant he could:


get paid



The correct answers are a and b.

Video 3 showed that people with learning disabilities have varied experiences of the workplace and finding a job.

  1. Unfortunately even if a person with learning disabilities secures paid employment, it is not always easy for them to keep their job. Make a note of the things that might make it difficult for a person with learning disabilities to keep their job.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Research (Coleman et al., 2013; Roulstone et al., 2014; Mencap 2018) shows that some people with learning disabilities face harassment or bullying when in the workplace. Some people are reluctant to disclose their learning disability to colleagues at work, for fear of being stigmatised. This can result in people not getting the workplace adjustments that they are entitled to under UK Equality legislation which makes it more difficult for them to keep their job.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371