What is supported employment?
Disabled people face many barriers when trying to access the labour market, more than those without a disability. There is a general assumption that disabled people are less likely to achieve or sustain paid employment. Some of the most significant barriers faced by people with a disability includes- a lack of appropriate in-work support, low confidence and self-esteem, poor employment opportunities, and direct and indirect discrimination including negative attitudes of employers. Achieving paid employment not only brings disabled people financial independence, but it can be key to building confidence and self-esteem, increasing health and well-being, and helping them gain friendships and a social life. There are also benefits for the economy, employers, families, the local community and wider society.
Supported employment is a model used to support people with learning disabilities secure and retain paid employment. This model is achieved through vocational profiling, engaging with employers and job matching, and these activities are carried out by a professional employment support advisor. Once an appropriate offer of employment has been achieved, an ‘in-work support’ development plan is agreed by the employer and employee and supported by the employment support advisor. The type of support and level of intervention agreed will depend on the individual needs of the disabled person and their employer. The philosophy of supported employment is that, everyone can work, with the right job and the right support.