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Learning disability employment pledge launched
NHS England and NHS Employers have launched a pledge to employ more people with learning disabilities which local NHS organisations are being encouraged to sign up to.
The pledge was opened for signatures at a workshop event held for employers in Bristol yesterday.
The pledge is split into three stages:
- Step one – commitment. Organisations are asked to confirm their Two Ticks accreditation (given by Jobcentre Plus to employers who commit to taking positive action to encourage applications from people with disabilities) and pledge their further commitment to employing more people with learning disabilities.
- Step two – ready. By pledging to step two, employers need to have created an action plan to employ more people with learning disabilities.
- Step three – success! By pledging to step three, employers need to confirm that they are employing more people with learning disabilities, and to sharing their success stories.
NHS Learning Disability Employment Programme – a joint programme between NHS England and NHS Employers – was launched during Learning Disability Week in June.
The programme is the next step in a commitment made in the NHS Five Year Forward View to make NHS workforces more representative of the local communities they serve. It takes the form of a new national network providing advice, ideas and impetus to all NHS organisations – from local hospital trusts to national bodies – to remove barriers and take steps to accelerate employment of people with learning disabilities in the NHS.
More than 50 major employers have registered their interest so far, and it is hoped that they and many more will be quick to sign the pledge.
To help them do so, NHS England and NHS Employers launched guidance in September which outlines how to open up meaningful jobs to people with learning disabilities, as well as highlighting the benefits to employers of doing so, including savings associated with reduced employee turnover, accessing a wider pool of talent and experience, and creating a more inclusive and accessible organisation.
To support the rollout of the tools and guidance and encourage local providers and CCGs to sign up, NHS England will be running three events across the country to provide practical training and advice, and help build networks. Local voluntary, community and social organisations, local authorities and Jobcentre Plus representatives will also be invited to attend.
Yesterday’s event in Bristol was the first, with further events in Manchester on 25 November and London on 9 December.
I attended the event in Bristol yesterday and just wanted to give some feedback. I am really grateful that I was able to attend this event and it has made me think very strongly about ways that I can improve things both personally and also made me consider what more I can do to assist our Trust in achieving the aims set out in the pledge. As a manager who employed a learning disabled person 18 months ago I believed that I had already made huge steps – particularly with relation to looking at new ways of teaching and training; however I now realise that there are ways I can improve communication with my employee and will certainly be utilising many of the tips given by some of the speakers. Perhaps the biggest thing I took home was the fact that we all can make a difference; I have tended to think that I am doing my bit and it is up to those above me in ‘positions of power’ to progress things further – not any more. I have already had discussions today with our head of mandatory training about how we can better tailor both our Induction program and our annual mandatory updates to ensure that they are fit for purpose for staff members with differing abilities and will be approaching our Chief Exec at the earliest opportunity to push things forward.
I would also like to say that Aron was an amazing young man and an inspiration; and will be feeding back to our organization the (now) extremely obvious point that he made about how we should be involving our existing staff with learning disabilities to guarantee that what we are doing in all aspects to meet the pledge works for them
thank you again for an absolutely fantastic day