Shaw Trust has responded to a Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into the Government's commitment to halve the disability employment gap - the difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people.
Download Shaw Trust's full response to the Committee (WORD, 42KB, link opens in new tab or window) from the Shaw Trust website or from parliament.uk (opens in new tab or window).
While 80% of non-disabled people are employed, the employment rate for disabled people remains at 46.7%. Halving this gap will mean supporting an addition 1.2 million disabled people to find and remain in, employment.
Shaw Trust has pledged its support to meet this goal. Upcoming programmes such as the new Work and Health Programme, the expansion of Access to Work, as well as the Disability Confident campaign, will help support more people.
However, in order to meet this shared goal, Shaw Trust finds that the government, providers, and policy makers need to reframe their shared understanding of who can and should be considered for employment support.
Firstly, Shaw Trust finds in order to support a million more disabled people into employment, we need policy change that is able to identify and reach all disabled people who can, and want to work.
Specifically, services need to reach beyond those who are claiming unemployment benefits and include those who are both economically inactive, as well as just falling out of the labour market.
Secondly, policy makers need to create a framework that drives both national and local direction. Shaw Trust offers that LEPs who apply for the next round of Growth Deals should explicitly set out how the money can be used to grow regional economies and move more disabled people into work.
LEPs have an important part to play in identifying local employer needs as well as gaps in local support. More importantly, they can play a critical role in promoting the business benefits of hiring people with disabilities.
Finally, in order to deliver services that will effectively reach all disabled people who are out of work but want to work, it is critical that customers play an active part in designing programmes.
For this consultation we heard from both Work Programme and Work Choice customers on what elements of their existing programme would help them engage better with new provision.
Our evidence demonstrates that effective employment support for those with a health condition or disability includes:
- An adviser who is knowledgeable about or has empathy towards their customer's health or disability.
- Opportunities to partake in work experience or work tasters.
- An adviser or provider to drive proactive employer engagement, as seen in Work Choice.
Our recommendations are shaped by the belief that in order to halve the disability employment gap, policy solutions and programmes must be designed alongside service users.
To actually meet the goal of supporting one million disabled people into work, customers must have an active say in what support they want and how it will meet their needs.
For further information, please email Annie.Kohanek@shaw-trust.org.uk (opens in new window)