Wokingham’s employment rate drives up the national average for people with learning disabilities.

An area of ​​Berkshire has seen its employment rate soar for people with learning disabilities despite a drastic drop in neighboring towns.

In a recent study by PHA, it is shown that 20% of people with learning disabilities in Wokingham are in gainful employment. A significant 13% above the average in the Southeast.

Although numbers are falling in some parts of the country, with some falling to 0.4 per cent, numbers in Wokingham have been rising steadily since 2015.

Paid employment levels have increased from 12.5% ​​in 2014/15 to 20% in 2020/21.

Although employment for people with additional needs in the UK is at an all-time low, a local charity in Wokingham has claimed community work is key to success and their growing numbers.

One organization that has been hugely influential in supporting the development of people with learning disabilities in the area is the Promise Inclusion charity. It provides emotional support and practical support for individuals and their careers, and practical support can be employment assistance either for the carer themselves or for the person with intellectual disability.

Promise Inclusion CEO Mary Durman said, “We employ people with learning disabilities, so we’ve always been proactive in employing people and setting a good example.

“I would say Wokingham has always had a very strong Learning Disabilities Partnership Council.

“We facilitate partnership council which involves the council working with statutory and voluntary organisations. We all work together to make sure the right services are in place and the right school is in place for people with additional needs.

Paid employment provides crucial opportunities for independence and increased confidence for people with a learning disability.

The figures have prompted experts to ask employers and other local authorities to assess the accessibility of online recruitment processes, working from home practices and mental health support.

Ash Higgs, Director of MCG Healthcare, added:

“Even though the market seems to be improving now, the pandemic has obviously left many people unemployed. However, for people with learning disabilities, losing a job – or being unable to find one – can seriously undermine confidence and rob individuals of opportunities for personal progress. It’s about more than money.

“Our nurses see firsthand how fulfilling some people with learning disabilities are in their work. We aim to give people as much independence as possible, and work plays a huge part in that, giving people a sense of control and achievement.