Enhancing Employment Opportunities for Young People with Learning Disabilities and Autism: Parent Perspective
A recent report by Gerraint Jones-Griffiths, Learning Disability Wales, in
collaboration with Andrea Meek and Dr. Elisa Vigna from the National Centre
for Mental Health at Cardiff University, sheds light on the experiences and
perspectives of parents regarding supported employment for young people
with learning disabilities and/or autism. The report emphasises the need for
increased support, clearer communication, and a shift in societal expectations
to facilitate the successful transition of these young people into the workforce.
The reports interactive session with parents revealed several key themes,
including barriers to employment, expectations for young people, the benefits
of employment, and recommendations for schools, colleges, and government
Barriers to Employment:
Parents discussed the societal barriers faced by young people with learning
disabilities and autism in gaining employment. The social model of disability
was explored, emphasising the need to address prejudices and create
inclusive environments. The report highlighted the low employment rate of
4.8% for young people with learning disabilities and autism, with parents
attributing this to low expectations from schools, education, and services.
Expectations and Benefits of Employment:Parents engaged in discussions about their young people’s dream jobs and
highlighted the importance of employment in providing structure, purpose,
independence, improved communication skills, and a sense of belonging to a
team. The benefits of working in the community, earning a wage, and affording
a higher quality of life were also emphasised.
Recommendations for the future:
The report distilled key recommendations from parents, focusing on the
support needed for young people, assistance required by parents, actions for
schools and colleges, and the role of local authorities and the Welsh
Support for Young People:
• Early exposure to career discussions and meaningful career fairs.
• Assistance in identifying strengths, developing CVs, and acquiring
• Social skills support and task analysis for dealing with hierarchy.
Support for Parents/Carers:
• Job coaching, travel training, task analysis, and personal assistance.
• Clear communication from potential employers and educators.
• Life skills education in schools, with a focus on practical skills.
School and College Involvement:
• Direct links with employers, vocational subject teaching, and life skills
• Job coaching availability in educational institutions.
• Positive language, skill-focused education, and identification of potential
Local Authority and Government Actions:
• Providing travel training and working in partnership with various
• Allocating proper funding, offering experiences, and ensuring support
aligns with promises made.
• Improved communication and collaboration between schools, colleges,
The report concludes with a call for continued support from the Welsh
Government, schools, colleges, and local authorities to promote and facilitate
supported employment, internships, apprenticeships, and a national job
coaching service. The discontinuation of the Engage to Change project has
left a noticeable gap in provision, necessitating urgent action to empower
young people with learning disabilities and/ or autism on their journey towards
employment. Clearer communication, increased expectations, and better
services in educational institutions are essential elements in achieving this
goal. The report advocates for a comprehensive approach that involves
parents, educators, and policymakers working together to create a more
inclusive and supportive environment for these young people.
To read the English report, go to this link: English Report
To Read the Welsh report, go to this link: adroddiad rhiant