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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Plans that work: Employment outcomes for people with learning disabilities

Many of us have some form of learning disability. If you are one of these people, you are less likely to live an independent life, and you are significantly less likely to have a job. This short paper considers whether the additional support that is provided to children and young people with learning disabilities helps them properly prepare for adulthood, and considers how it might have to change to better achieve this.

While being in paid work is neither necessary nor desirable for everyone in society, many people with learning disabilities would like to work. Increasing employment among people with learning disabilities, as part of a wider range of social changes to enable them to live more independent, fulfilling and secure lives, brings considerable benefits to the individual, to employers and to society as a whole.

Yet employment rates for those with learning disabilities are persistently and extremely low.

This paper explores the barriers to employment for people with learning disabilities, principally in relation to support for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), and sets out recommendations for change.