People who have learning disabilities often find that they lack the confidence to approach and employer and ask to be considered for a role. Part of this is due to the fear of discrimination and part of it can be a lack of knowledge about how to conduct this approach. The good news is that there are lots of ways to get some help and advice to give you the confidence you need to approach an employer for your dream job.
Finding the job
You may have an idea about the kind of job you want or you may need some inspiration to see what you would enjoy. Either way, there are lots of people waiting to help. Start with the Jobcentre who have a Disability Employment Advisor. Their job is to help find you the job you want and to give you the information you need to make that approach.
The British Association for Supported Employment is one example of an institution that works to help people with learning disabilities find work. Their approaching includes helping you find the skills you have that will be attractive to employers and to showcase them, overcoming the old-fashioned idea that someone can’t do a certain job due to their disabilities.
There are various supported employment agencies who can also help you find that job and prepare for an interview. They will help you assess your abilities and interests and find the right job if you are unsure what this is. They can also provide training and support once you are in the job and will be there if there are any problems in the future.
Recruitment agencies work to find the right employee for a business and therefore are driven to make a good match between you and the employer that leads to long term employment. They can also help as they will understand the relevant rules such as the Equality Act and can help you find the right job.
The application process
Sometimes reading a job description can be intimidating as they often use a lot of jargon and ‘key phrases’ that are great for computer search engines but a bit off-putting for people! However, there is a requirement under the Equality Act that adjustments can be made to a form to help everyone understand them and be able to apply. This can even mean doing an application over the phone rather than in writing.
You can’t be turned down for a job due to your disabilities but if you don’t have the right qualifications or experience, then you can be turned down for this reason, even if your disabilities have limited your options. Therefore, it is important to showcase your abilities, regardless where you have acquired them – voluntary work is a great example.
Don’t be afraid to tell a potential employer if you need adjustments making to the process due to your disabilities. The Access to Work program can also help with any adjustments that would be needed if you were to get the job and shows the employer that they can get all the benefits of you as a member of staff, without worrying about the costs of altering the workplace or processes to accommodate you. The scheme pays 100% of the approved costs when you start a new job.