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1491 Unemployment for learning-disabled adults and family carers – barriers and challenges to work: findings from a uk public consultation
  1. Prosenjit Giri1,2,3,
  2. Jill Aylott3
  1. 1Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Nhs Trust, Worksop, UK
  2. 2Sheffield University, UK
  3. 3International Academy of Medical Leadership, Dronfield, Derbyshire, UK


Introduction Disabled people (approximately 1 billion among 7.4 billion world population) and their Family-Carers suffer from massive labour market disadvantage. Global economic crisis and austerity has had serious implication on their health and well-being by increasing mortality, morbidity, poverty and poor access to health/social care. Over 50% of 1.5 million Learning-Disabled people in the UK lived in family-house depending on informal unpaid care from 0.84 million Family-Carers resulting in significant financial burden for their family (2011). Despite Government initiatives employment rate among Learning-Disabled adults has fallen (6.1% in 2009/10% to 5.8% in 2015/16). 33% of Family-Carers were also unemployed compounding their misery.

Methods A public consultation within a local authority set out to review the current employment status and perception towards work among Learning-Disabled adults and their Family -Carers. Qualitative and quantitative data was gathered and analysed thematically and statistically respectively.

Results Among 227 participating Learning-Disabled adults, 98% (217/227) were in the working-age group (18–65 years) but only 8% (18/227) in paid employment. Among responding Family-Carers (77%; 59/77 in the working age), 55% were unemployed. Both the Learning-disabled adults (74%; 167/227) and Family-Carers (50%; 35/70) were unenthusiastic about their employment prospect. Negative societal attitude; bullying, harassment and crime; lack of access, resources, transport, training facility and targeted job opportunity were identified as primary barrier for work by the Learning-Disabled group. Caring responsibilities, increasingly scarce resources and Lack of social and management support were identified by the Family-Carers. The respondents called for a paradigm shift from employment support towards teaching/training for employers and employees to break these barriers.

Conclusion Despite government initiatives, employment for Learning-disabled adults and their able Family-Carers remains an unfulfilled dream. More targeted employment, teaching/training and flexible-working acknowledging the fragile interdependent relationship between Learning-disabled adults and Family-Carers, may prevent a significant loss of manpower and productivity.

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