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Learning Disabilities Collaboration

Young people with learning disabilities collaboration

Surrey Youth Focus is delighted to welcome Sally Stubbings to the team, sally will be working on the Hidden Talent project. This project aims to make it easier for young people with Learning Disabilities and other Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) across Surrey to find work experience, work placements and ultimately jobs. For more information please email sally.stubbings@surreyyouthfocus.org.uk

More about the project

Given the high employment rate in Surrey, do you find it hard to recruit and retain suitable employees? If so, the good news is that there are “hidden” pools of talent that many employers are not tapping into – young people with learning disabilities. Many young people with learning disabilities are longing to work and make great employees if given the chance. 

There are many wonderful young people who happen to have learning disabilities leaving schools and colleges across Surrey who have the capabilities to do a wide range of jobs. Some are highly capable of doing challenging financial or technical jobs, as long as employers make adjustment for their social skills or other learning disability. Others may excel at doing highly repetitive jobs that others do not enjoy.

Employers benefit from employing young people with learning disabilities by gaining new talent and having a more diverse workforce which can bring useful insights to their organization’s strategy, products and services. It also gives employers an opportunity to demonstrate that they are compassionate and forward looking to their employees, customers and local community, thus helping both customer and employee retention. 

It’s true that some may need more initial support than other employees, but this can often be funded by the state and many employers have achieved a long term return on investment with a hard working, long-serving employee. 

We are aiming to create a win-win situation where employers get access to new pools of employees and some great young people get the work opportunities that they long for. For this to work, there needs to be new paths to employment for these young people, since the traditional recruitment practices typically act as barriers, not enablers. We believe that the best way to do this may be to create an email bulletin which contains requests made by charities/colleges for opportunities such as work placements for young people. If the work placements are successful, these young people might become valuable employees. We are currently doing a survey to find out employers’ attitudes to our ideas.

This project is being led by Surrey Youth Focus in consortium with an impressive list of organisations including Surrey Chambers of Commerce, Surrey County Council, employers, charities and schools & colleges across Surrey.

 

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