Here you are, a series of informative articles about supporting employment. Ask most people that work in this area and they will tell you, it’s true, Supported employment is an exciting challenging and rewarding endeavour.
But what really is it, why is it necessary? We need to start by considering the rights of disabled people. Maybe we could really start on the fact that most of us wish to be judged on our abilities. It is indeed not much to ask for the opportunity to work in a productive employment setting. But when you start to research the number of disabled people accessing these opportunities you start to get an idea of why we are in need of this type of service.
Supporting people to achieve this goal is a sensible idea and one to some degree the law would seem to support, with the Equality act we have some recognition of the rights of people with disabilities in the field of employment. The Government wishes to involve people with disabilities and other organisations to find supported sustainable employment.
Another seemingly recent initiative is that of supported internships (more on this later) In reality this type of arrangement has been working successfully for nearly 2 decades in America. The UK Government has also pledged to help support people with disabilities with schemes such as Disability Confident.
We are, of course, exploring some of the ideas of inclusion, the goal being to assist people with disabilities overcome barriers in society. To tackle ignorance, prejudice and discrimination that unfortunately is still prevalent in the workplace today. The real challenge for disabled people is equality of access to opportunities, shouldn’t such opportunities should be available to everybody?
The supported employment model views employment as a desirable and achievable aim for people with disabilities, it looks for “natural ways of offering support into employment and it understands that employment is an essential ingredient a quality of life
It a plausible alternative to Projects that offer a sheltered workplace which are increasingly understood to not offer the opportunities or rewards of mainstream employment.
This approach believes in self determination and that disabled people can make sound choices about their own life we should understand their aspirations and skills to be able to match them to an appropriate job. Disabled people should have the right to the type of social financial inclusion and to experiences with people from all walks of their own life.
It strives to employee all of those who wish to work find work matches the skills and abilities.
It follows that people should be able to learn about work whilst on the job and not necessarily in the classroom. Disabled people should be free to make mistakes and develop their abilities in a real employment setting.
Supported Employment also believes in the rights for people to have real jobs and I of course a real wage, that some types of employment can be exploitative.
Whilst it is paramount we safeguard from exploitation, I believe it’s also important to take a pragmatic approach and that whilst the above is laudable it’s vital that we work with the opportunities that are available. I’ve worked with individuals who wish to work full time but have only secured part-time earnings in the first instance – this can be built upon. Expectations of employment should be managed, if it takes volunteering for a job for a duration in order to secure a paid job then that training has paid off!Supported employment aims to find sustainable employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The challenge is to help those individuals adapt to changes and support them to retain the employment which they have worked so hard to secure.