Employability

Our Talkback employment service focuses on helping our members into the world of employment. Whether that’s by gaining work experience, part-time work or full-time, paid employment. People with learning disabilities and autistic people offer many advantages for employers and there is clear evidence to support that. And, above all else, people with learning disabilities and autism deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.

The truth about learning disability employment

8 in 10 working-age people are in employment

Only 2 in 10 working-age people with learning disabilities are in employment

1 in 5 employers admitted they are less likely to hire disabled candidates

Take a moment to think about those facts. Now, bearing in mind that it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against people with learning disabilities and autism looking for employment, they are disappointing. To say the very least.

We want to change this.

From first meeting Robert and helping him find his feet and settle into his job, to watching him flourish, it has been an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile experience and one which I’d highly recommend other organisations follow. Critically, it’s taught us all that Robert and others like him are able to contribute, work within a team and do a great job.

The Freemantle Trust

Our approach to employment

Talkback offer a wide range of employment programmes that cater for all ages and abilities. From training, through to work experience, supported internships, and support to maintain paid work; Talkback aims to break down barriers that hinder access to paid employment for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Employment Training

We focus on helping people develop the skills required for work – including travel training, relationships, budgeting, CV writing, job applications, interview techniques and workplace etiquette.

Work Experience

We provide people with a taste of the working world, with opportunities to gain experience in a work role and build key work skills. Offering a wide range of Work Experience placements from retail and agriculture, through to office work.

Supported Internships

Enabling young people aged 16-25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan to achieve sustainable paid employment. We equip them with the skills required for work, while they learn in the workplace.

Social Enterprise

Our Groups include The Accessible Workshop that creates products from sustainable timber. These products are sold and reinvested back into the workshop and its members, or donated to create a positive social change. Groups focus on learning practice and transferable work skills.

Paid Employment

The ultimate aim is paid employment (including apprenticeships), with the option of ongoing workplace support.

Who helps us provide employment for people with learning disabilities and autism

In partnership with local employers, we support people in work experience and supported internships, and work with employers to find and maintain paid employment. We work with a wide range of employers to offer a variety of roles and workplaces. From retail, farm work, horticulture, IT, and care, to office work, we want to find a placement that’s right for the individual. Here are a few of the employers that Talkback have worked with to date:

Vale of Aylesbury Housing Logo

Talkback have continued to come to Green Dragon Eco Farm following the disruptions of the past year and it's been lovely to welcome them back. Although the individuals have changed (and we do miss the previous students) we still find them to be a pleasure to have with us and very much appreciate the work they do. We are looking for ways to broaden the tasks and the animals that the students are able to get involved with and hope they continue to enjoy working with us and also continue to get a lot out of their days here. The relationship with Talkback continues to be a strong one and represents continuity and normality for us. We genuinely hope it continues and we are able to welcome more students back to the farm.

Green Dragon Eco Farm

How we challenge presumptions of learning disabilities and autism in employment

We believe that knowledge is key to driving real change. Because there are so many gains for employers to employ people with learning disabilities and autistic people. Here’s just a few of them:

Retention

Employees with learning disabilities and/or autism tend to stay longer and are loyal to the company, hence saving time and money on recruitment.

Sickness

On average, the amount of time off work for sickness is significantly lower for people with learning disabilities than other staff.

Talent

People on the autistic spectrum often have high levels of accuracy. As well as an attention to detail and a good memory for figures.

Morale

People with learning disabilities are positive and hardworking. Also, they inspire others to go above and beyond.

Diversity

Employing people with learning disabilities creates a workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers within the community.

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It helps to put the company at the very forefront in the promotion of Equality and Diversity employment in the workplace.

Learning Disability and Autism Employment
People Stories

We’ve helped hundreds of autistic people or a learning disability, so they can find employment. Because they deserve it. And, at the heart of what we do, is a promise. To provide more than just support groups and day services for those with autism or other learning disabilities. And here’s an example of just one.

Thomas Quigley in employment

Thomas's Story

Thomas Quigley started working with Vale of Aylesbury Housing last month. Here, John Wallbank tells us all about it.

We have partnered with Talkback since 2019 as we want to make a difference to support people with learning disabilities into paid employment. We understand that only 5.9% of people with a learning disability are employed so we want to do everything we can to improve this. Being in work gives people such a sense of achievement and purpose; it also develops skill and confidence.

In September 2021, we were pleased to have Thomas Quigley start with us. Thomas will be with us for one year and is working in a variety of departments but predominantly in IT which is Thomas’s passion.  Thomas is working with us for two days a week, one day from our Head Office and one day from home to enable Thomas to learn hybrid working.

What's Thomas been doing?

I am pleased that the level of support that Talkback provides is excellent for Thomas and his confidence is increasing. Thomas’s achievements in just over 1 month are strong, he has already achieved so much. Here are just a few examples:

  • He has used back up software such as One Drive
  • Ensured all own IT equipment is on the latest IOS/Windows version
  • Walked through First Touch forms capturing van defects
  • Thomas is creating an interactive user guide for operatives on how to record van defects
  • Using various methods to move screenshots from one device to another
  • Understanding the design and user interaction aspects of first touch forms
  • Gaining an understanding of how Housing Associations operate
  • Met the helpdesk team and will be meeting BI officers and Systems analysts via online meetings

 

I look forward to seeing Thomas’s successes over the coming months – he is a great member of our team.

John Wallbank, Vale of Aylesbury Housing

Our learning disability and autism employment brochure

If you’d like to find out more about how we help people with learning disabilities gain employment and the service we provide then you can downland our brochure below.

Download our Employability Booklet:

Building Better Opportunities. Helping people with learning disabilities and autism find employment.

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) aims to help tackle poverty, as well as the social exclusion the most disadvantaged people in England face. The European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund fund it.

It supports people with a learning disability or autism in Milton Keynes and Aylesbury to find work. Firstly, those who are currently unemployed. Secondly, those who are economically inactive. That’s people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). As well as those not actively seeking work in last 4 weeks. And finally, those who cannot work within next 2 weeks.

We want people with a learning disability or autism to be valued and respected in the workplace. This is achieved by giving both the person and the employer realistic, ongoing support mechanisms in the following areas:

  • Provide appropriate advice, assistance and support to adults who have a learning disability and autism within Milton Keynes and Aylesbury who wish to gain paid employment. As well as get a step closer to work.
  • Identify the needs and the wishes of people. In order to plan and deliver a comprehensive, supportive and a creative range of work opportunities. Thereby meeting their aspirations.
  • Career guidance and CV writing
  • Support with job search
  • Interview skills and mock interviews
  • Support for people who need help developing their skills.
  • Support job seekers through work tasters and trials. Thereby creating a natural support within the work place
  • An enablement programme, therefore working towards a ‘Phase Out’ model. Because the need for support reduces.
  • Liaise with individual employers and employer organisations on a regular basis. Therefore finding employment placements.

Our learning disability employment credentials

Talkback’s Supported Employment solutions are based on over 20 years’ experience. We help people with a learning disability and autistic people to develop and use their skills to enhance their quality of life. Because we want people to be as independent as they are able or want to be. Talkback is about choice, opportunity and respect for all people with a learning disability or autism. Because we want the same chances for everyone.

Base Certified

Talkback are members of the British Association for Supported Employment. Working with BASE we do the following:

Assist people with disabilities by encouraging the provision of support into employment; endorse & promote quality standards in the delivery of Supported Employment; nurture and encourage supported employment members; and promote the training of supported employment staff 

Disability Confident

The Disability Confident employer scheme creates a movement of change in society, that encourages employers to think differently about disability. We take action to improve how we recruit, work and invest in people with disabilities.

Being Disability Confident means we have the opportunity to lead the way in our community, seeing people for the skills they have and who they are. 

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