Guest post from Rob Trotter, Public Policy Advisor (Employment and Skills) at Scope.
The current labour market is a challenging place for disabled people. Over half of all disabled adults are unemployed. Most want to work but can face extraordinary barriers to finding and retaining a job.
Employment support – to help disabled adults find, prepare for and progress in work – is a vital part of removing these barriers. This can be anything from financial support like Access to Work, to help to find vacancies and prepare for interviews.
It’s welcome that the Government has announced in the 2013 Spending Round that £350 million will be available for employment support programmes. This investment could prove a vital lifeline for disabled people at every stage of their careers, from the first steps in looking for a job, to the support needed to progress.
But the challenge is that current employment support programmes aren’t yet effectively supporting disabled people. For instance, only 2.9% of Employment Support Allowance claimants – nine in 10 of whom are disabled people – have found a job through the flagship Work Programme. Too often, programmes focus only on job ‘outcomes’ rather than the needs of the person.
So today, five leading disability charities have published a major report setting out new ways to improve employment support for disabled people.
The report – Work in Progress: Rethinking employment support for disabled people – calls for a personalised, multi-agency approach which focuses on empowering disabled people to lead their own career journeys.
The report recommends that:
- There needs to be greater involvement of employers in the design and delivery of employment support
- The Government should incentivise greater localisation of employment support for disabled people in order to stimulate innovation
- A more targeted approach should be taken for young disabled people who face particular challenges and often cannot access effective support
It also outlines how the quality of support can be improved, and calls for much greater empowerment and involvement of disabled people in their own journeys through work.