Supporting and empowering people with learning difficulties in the workplace

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There are 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability – 870,000 of those are of working age.

Learning Disability Week runs from June 17-23, with ‘Do You See Me?’ the theme of this year’s mencap-backed awareness event.

The aim of the week is to ensure people with learning disabilities are seen and heard – not least in the workplace.

From confidence building to offering mentorship, there are a number of ways that employers can provide support while empowering staff with learning disabilities in the office, factory or other setting.

We can help advise employers about how they can hire the right candidate for the right role, and create an inclusive and nurturing working environment.

Managing Director, Nel Woolcott, says: “We realise how crucial it is to enable and empower those with a learning disability to contribute productively to their workplaces.

“We can work effectively with employers to ensure their job adverts are worded correctly, and with candidates to assist with their CVs, filling in applications, identifying their skills and goals, writing cover letters and advising on interview techniques.

“With such a large number of the UK workforce being identified as having learning disabilities, Learning Disability Week is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate neurodiversity and other challenges faced by so many either looking for a job or in current employment.”

We have some top tips to offer employers when it comes to supporting staff with learning disabilities:

  • Ensure that tasks are simplified by providing clear and repeated work instructions, both orally and in writing.
  • Provide clear guidance as to workplace expectations, again in writing or in a prominent place where they can be easily seen.
  • Offer some kind of mentoring – ideally with a member of the existing team who can work alongside the employee and provide ongoing support; helping to build confidence, provide on-the-job learning and progression, and deliver positive feedback.

Nel added: “Accurately representing people with learning or any kind of disability in the workplace eliminates stigmas and myths which can be prevalent when it comes to discrimination in hiring.”

 According to figures by mencap:

  • 5.1% of adults with a learning disability known to their local authority in England are in paid work (NHS Digital, 2021).
  • The proportion of adults with a learning disability in paid employment varies by region with London (7%) and the South East (6.9%) having the highest proportion of adults with a learning disability known to their local authority in paid employment.
  • In England, a higher proportion of men with a learning disability known to their local authority (6.2%) are in paid employment than women with a learning disability known to their local authority (4.8%; NHS Digital 2020).
  • There are approximately 870,000 adults of working age (18-64) with a learning disability in the UK.

To find out more about Learning Disability Week visit Learning Disability Week 2024 | Mencap


Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

T: 01733 235298

Emily Hill

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”

Outside of work

“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my husband and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”

Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
T: 01733 235298

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