OUT NOW: East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust:Employing more people with a Learning Disability: Our Learning Disability Pledge

Since September 2010 East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has been in partnership with Thanet College (now East Kent College) and Kent Supported Employment to provide adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to experience real work in an NHS environment which incorporates ‘on the job’ learning and increases their employability skills.

Bright Futures, as the programme is now known, has been quite successful in helping adults with learning disabilities into the workplace. Not only has the programme won several awards but it has also been widely recognised as good practice, which is something that all involved are extremely proud of.

As part of the 5 Year Forward View we wanted to build upon this and enlisted the support of Health Education England working across Kent, Surrey and Sussex’s (HEE KSS) Intellectual Disabilities Programme to develop the skills to be able to sign up to the Learning Disability Pledge. We signed up to the pledge in June 2015 with an ambitious project.

This project focused on reviewing the recruitment and the selection processes in order to remove barriers for those with learning disabilities as well as creating job roles specifically for this potential workforce. Not only that but it also looked at starting a cultural change to viewing employing people with learning disabilities as a positive step to making our workforce more inclusive.

This project successfully recruited to 2 individuals into job roles especially created for those with a learning disability. This not only gave them a valuable route into the workplace but their contribution to the team enabled the freeing up of clinical colleagues to undertake the tasks they are trained to do (e.g. care for patients). These individuals became part of a team that make a real difference to their local community and continues the work of the Bright Futures programme, which we are proud to say is still running and in its 8th year.

We would like to continue our Social Corporate Responsibility and are looking at ways to build upon what has already taken place with our partners.

All are welcome to view the full report on this project on our website so that it can start to raise awareness of how organisations can support those with a learning disability within their workplace click here.

Written by Jon Clarkson, Resourcing Manager


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