Team Spotlight: Enable’s Learning Disabilities Team
This article is an inside look at the workings of our Disabilities Employment Service, aimed at painting a clearer picture of what it is we do, who it is we are, and if our services are right for you.
In this article we will be looking at the journey our clients undergo when they come under the care of our Learning Disabilities Team. We will start from the early preparations all the way to finding paid employment and further support. This is a good way of getting to know how our team operates and the services we provide. As part of Shropshire Council, clients need to be referred to us by a Social Worker or the Autism Hub.
Below are the staff we have part of this team.
In order to refer to the Learning Disabilities Team, the individual must meet several criteria:
- People who have a disability and are currently receiving a social care service from social work teams
- Based within the Shropshire area
- ‘Disability’ covers anyone with a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial (taking longer than it usually would to complete a daily task) or long-term (12 months or more) negative effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities and people suffering from a progressive condition (one that gets worse over time)
- People who have a disability and are currently receiving a social care service from community hubs
- People can now be referred directly from the Autism Hub
- People with a disability who need employment support to prevent them from becoming future social care clients (‘Prevention customers’) and fulfil one of the following:
- Have previously been on the caseload of local authority Adult Social Care services in the last three years
- A young person (16-25 years) who is or has previously been on the caseloads of local authority Children’s disability services in the last three years or have an EHC plan
- A young person (16-25 years) who is or has previously been a customer of local authority Childrens Services in the last three years or has been referred by Shropshire Youth eg. Care Leaver
After accepting the referral, a senior will contact the client and set up a meeting either in our offices or off-site in a location convenient to the client. During this step we learn more about the client as a person and lay the groundwork for their vocational profile. This process can take place over one or several meetings and will accumulate in allocation of the client to a caseworker.
From here onward the process of job searching begins, starting from creating a thorough vocational profile for the client. As with all of Enable, the Learning Disabilities Team takes a client-led approach to job seeking. This means that the vacancies and employers we target are based on the criteria laid out by the client. We consider the client’s skills, complications, and most importantly their own desires. It is very important to us that our clients don’t simply find employment but find employment in a field where they are happy. Job satisfaction is a large factor in allowing our clients to thrive and further develop as professionals.
After the client and the caseworker have identified what kind of employment would be suitable, we start building an appropriate CV for the client. For some this can be challenging, which is why the assistance of an Employment Officer can be extremely helpful. Our philosophy when approaching CVs has been made available on our website, and these same values are imparted to our clients during this step of their job seeking.
Our team will help the client in seeking the desired roles. This can be done via internet job searching, CV canvassing, contacting employers directly, or using our other clients support networks. Our caseworkers will also arrange working interviews with employers to meet any specific needs our clients may have. This is in addition to any other interview support the client may require.
Support on the Job
For some clients, the first role they find might not be a paid one. This can be an apprenticeship, a placement, or something similar. Unpaid employment is a crucial step in many clients’ development process and can better prepare them for a more permanent role. Our goal is always to support our clients into paid employment, and we will continue to work with clients until they reach their desired goal.
After finding and being accepted into a desired position, clients who need it are assigned a job coach. Job coaches are there to help the client ease into their new role including going over responsibilities, time management, and encouraging building good relations with colleagues. Among the coaching we provide is travel training, which focuses on helping the client get to and from their workplace.
As the client settles into their new role, job coaching will wean off gradually until they are fully independent. However, this does not mean that clients are unable to ask for further support from Enable. We support our clients indefinitely; continued support is very important to us as we understand circumstances can change and our clients may require help long after they have started their jobs. On one case a client contacted us after being in her role for 15 years. Our team was able to help them with the situation that had arisen, and they were able to continue their employment as they have come to know it.
We hope this article has helped you understand our client journey. If you’re interested in getting in touch with us at Enable, feel free to call us on 01743 276900.