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Work this way: raising career aspirations during lockdown

Take Charge at Innovate Trust

Did you know that only 5% of people with a learning disability are in paid work? And that historically this sector of the working age population has been directed mainly towards cleaning and catering? These two issues are behind one of the specific outcome areas in the Take Charge project: to support people with career advice and to raise their employment aspirations.

Grand plans for visits to employers have, of course, been on hold for the last year, and are unlikely to be possible in at least the medium term. Luckily this is not the only element in our delivery of this important theme. Given the range of abilities we are developing a rich selection of one to one and group activities for people to experience.

We continue with our method of engaging people’s interest by running online activities in parallel with seemingly unrelated topics (see previous blog post). We ran a session on keyworkers during the pandemic, but also used this to show participants examples of people with a learning disability doing more unusual jobs such as scaffolding.

We are also bringing the careers theme into our activity to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th. The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge and among the women we are looking at are two who fought to have the career they wanted, not the one that others thought they should have.  Betty Campbell became Wales’ first black headteacher, and Sara Jane Rees who fought to get an education which was usually denied to girls in Victorian times.

One to one sessions are a little different and depend on individual circumstances. While lockdown is in place we are able to help with CVs over the telephone and email; participants have also attended external online courses to help them with this. We also have a range of external partner organisations to refer participants to for jobsearching once this is practicable. Volunteering and work experience opportunities are also very limited at the moment, and everyone is looking forward to this changing as soon as it is safe to do so.