‘Not wanted here’

- the bleak marginalised reality of how evidence informs employment policy for people with a learning disability in England and Wales-

Author: Kim Dearing

This post was originally published by the Evidence & Policy blog on 16 June, 2021.

We have re-issued the article that has already been published by the Evidence & Policy blog. We would like to express gratitude to the kind offer of the editorial board of the Evidence & Policy blog.

Original article URL: https://bit.ly/3Ao51ZK

Kim Dearing

This blog post is part of a series linked to the Evidence & Policy Special Issue (Volume 17, Issue 2): The many faces of disability in evidence for policy and practice. Guest Edited by Carol Rivas, Ikuko Tomomatsu and David Gough. This post is based on the Special Issue article, ‘Exploring a non-universal understanding of waged work and its consequences: sketching out employment activation for people with an intellectual disability‘.

Less than 6% of working aged adults with a learning disability, who receive social care, are in any form of employment – yet studies show that 65% of this population would like to have paid work. Drawing on empirical data, collected predominantly through ethnographic work, the research presented here offers a critical assessment of the mismatch between current policy and available evidence. What this research shows is that the majority of people within this demographic are underserved or excluded from targeted work preparation support in England and Wales. As a consequence, such dismal employment rates are highly unlikely to increase, regardless of government rhetoric.

Figure 1 demonstrates the gulf between UK employment rates for people with a learning disability compared to their non-disabled counterparts: