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Helping people with learning disabilities and autism into work

​A range of useful resources designed to help people with learning disabilities and / or autism to find interesting and rewarding employment have been launched across Suffolk.

Called "Work Ready", the toolkit features video interviews with employees, as well as Easy Read documents for candidates, which include advice on filling in application forms, what to expect when starting a job and the impact which work may have on benefits. 

It also includes information for employers, such as the support which is available free of charge from the government and advice on reasonable adjustments they may need to make for staff with learning disabilities and/ or autism. This could include producing Easy Read application forms, taking more time to explain things and finding alternatives to formal interviews, such as job coaching schemes where the candidate can meet the team and see whether the role suits both them and the potential employer.

The toolkit has been developed by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), Ace Anglia and Thinklusive after the partnership was awarded £19,000 to fund the project by Health Education England. It was designed for use in the NHS, but could also be used to support employment in other organisations and businesses.

All of the resources will be available for candidates and employers to download from the Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership's website, at 

Sue Bridges (pictured), Nurse Consultant (Learning Disabilities and Autism), with NSFT, facilitated the project. 

She said: "Helping people with learning disabilities and/ or autism into employment is really important as they have plenty to offer and a range of skills which can be of real benefit in the workplace. Finding a fulfilling and interesting job can also provide a real boost to confidence and self-esteem.

"We hope that this toolkit will be a really useful resource for candidates by showing them that applying for a job does not need to be intimidating or cause anxiety. At the same time, we hope it will show potential employers that making reasonable adjustments for staff with a learning disability and/ or autism does not have to be arduous or costly, while the benefits from employing these individuals can be huge."

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