The Learning Disability Employment Programme (LDEP) and the LDEP Pledge was an initiative launched in 2015 as part of the commitments within the NHS Five Year Forward View to support and encourage NHS employing organisations to deliver tangible advances in the employment of people with a learning disability and/or autism.
Following the system reorganisation leading to the creation of the new NHS England and with the new cross-sector government initiatives around supported employment, the LDEP is being wound down as a standalone programme. This means the LDEP Pledge has also been wound down and is no longer active for NHS organisations.
As part of the Government’s national disability strategy, the Department for Education is promoting the importance of supported internships as a route to employment across employment sectors and this is supported by the Internship Works initiative led by the British Association for Supported Employment Consortium. This cross-sector programme has been developed building on the experience of the NHS and its partners through the LDEP.
A number of the specialist organisations who worked with the LDEP are still providing activities and support for NHS employing organisations as part of the Internship Works initiative
- DFN Project SEARCH on the final stage of a contract to facilitate NHS supported internship programmes with the final 3 programmes to be delivered in 2024/25.
- British Association for Supported Employment
- The National Development Team for Inclusion
In addition, Choices College (formerly Health Education England Project Choice) continues to provide tailored educational support, and a supported internship course for young adults aged 16 to 24 with learning difficulties and/or a disability, and/or autism.
As part of the formal closure of the LDEP, NHS England’s Workforce, Training and Education directorate will inherit the resources created during LDEP which shall be accessible for the wider NHS in due course.