CEO Blog: The Importance Of Supporting Employers

Posted on the 28th July 2017

Our successful Supported Internship at Stepping Hill Hospital shows how the public sector can lead by example when it comes to employing people with a disability

Following on from the previous discussion about Supported Employment across Greater Manchester, Pure’s Chief Executive Officer, Louise Parrott-Bates, shares her thoughts on why employers are reluctant to take on employees with a learning disability, what they’re missing out on and what we can do to help.

Last time, we discussed the situation of supported employment within Greater Manchester and I asked why aren't we doing more?

To remind you of the vital statistics, of ten authorities within Greater Manchester six barely meet half the national average figure of 5.8% of people with a learning disability finding employment, while Stockport and Trafford are making a real impact with figures of 11.6% and 13.7% in work respectively thanks in part to dedicated organisations like Pure and United Response.

I spoke briefly about the oft-overlooked benefits to being in work, outside of the purely financial, and now I'd like to look at the other side of that coin; the benefits to an employer willing to make the difference and take on someone with a learning disability.

It's almost unthinkable that a pool of talent so often cited as being "hard working", "punctual", "loyal with low absentee rates" and having "a really positive work ethic" would be repeatedly overlooked and ignored. As an employer myself, I'd be a fool to miss out on the opportunity to employ people so clearly dedicated to working!

The opportunity to increase diversity in the workplace is great on a larger economic scale too; there are ten million people with a disability in the UK, with combined annual spending power of £249 billion.

Being a company that visibly supports employing people with a disability can strengthen a reputation, improve public perception and even increase interest & footfall, building business further.

Yet, businesses remain reluctant to take that step.

The Board, Pure Employment, Disability, Support, Work

Smaller employers may have different needs, but with support they can enjoy the benefits of employing staff with a disability

Fear and uncertainty play a large part in that reluctance; concerns over adjustments, inconveniences and the spectre of litigation if things go wrong. A lack of confidence in the capability of someone with a disability to do the work expected of an employee and fears that existing staff will not react well to a disabled employee. Often, the smaller the business, the greater the fears.

This is why support is so vital; not just for the benefit of the employee but also for the employer.

Here at Pure Innovations in Stockport, we have a fantastic, dedicated team working daily to secure job opportunities and positive outcomes; in the last year alone (April 2016 - 2017) they secured fifty paid roles for clients with a disability.

In addition, Pure runs eleven Supported Internship programmes across Greater Manchester, working alongside employers and local colleges to ensure that young people with learning and social difficulties have an opportunity to find employment on leaving education.

With a success rate approaching or exceeding 70% for Supported Internships, we know what works, and we're eager to find new employers to partner with and share that knowledge, for the benefit of our clients and disabled people across the whole of Greater Manchester.

Join me next time,

- Louise

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