For many jobseekers with learning disabilities, there are several different paths you can follow to pursue your ideal career. Employers are legally obliged to make reasonable adaptions for disabled employees, including providing specialist equipment, making changes to the working environment, and altering hours of work. This means that increasingly, people with learning disabilities can access work in the UK. This article will provide key steps that can help you find a job!
First and foremost, it’s important that you feel supported during the jobseeking process. Whether this support is from family or friends, specialist organisations, or your local jobcentre, background support can make the whole process feel less daunting and more enjoyable.
Several organizations provide support and advice on seeking employment if you have a learning disability. The Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Job Centre or Disability Employment Service can give you valuable advice on jobs for people with learning disabilities. If you have a specific learning disability, such as dyslexia, your local Adult Education College may offer support through specialist courses in workplace skills. This can also be a great place to meet new people and build confidence in the workplace.
Careers with Disabilities also offer an array of online resources geared towards helping people with disabilities have equal access to work. These resources contain careers advice on applying, interviewing, starting new jobs, and information on disabilities more generally.
Key steps towards getting a job
Depending on what career you want to pursue, there are several pathways you can take to pursue your dream job. Below, we’ll list a series of steps you can follow to get a job in the UK:
- Research disability-friendly employers: There are a growing number of employers in the UK who actively recruit employees with disabilities. This means that there are jobs available that have already been adapted to meet your needs. The Careers with Disabilities jobs board lists disability-friendly employers, or you can also research companies online to learn more about the opportunities they provide for disabled employees.
- Volunteer: Volunteering can be a great way to develop new skills, meet new people, and gain confidence in a specific job role. Volunteering can also lead to paid full-time positions, meaning that there is the potential for career progression. Some individuals also find that they prefer volunteering as depending on the role, it can be quite an informal, relaxed environment. Therefore, volunteering can be a great stepping stone towards your dream job.
- Network: Some of the best jobs are found through networking. Meeting people who work in the field you’re interested in can give you great insights into what jobs are available and how to pursue them. Attending industry events and meeting with professionals working in the field of your choice is a great way to start building these relationships. Additionally, social media platforms such as LinkedIn offer plenty of opportunities for jobseekers to connect with professionals in their desired field.
- Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships offer an alternative route to your desired career, and many employers provide apprenticeships for employees with learning disabilities. Apprenticeships can last up to four years, and during this time, you will be given the opportunity to learn on the job and gain qualifications in your chosen field.
- Attend job fairs: Job fairs are a great place to meet potential employers and learn about their available jobs. They also provide an opportunity for you to introduce yourself, showcase your skills, and ask any questions you may have about the job market. Most job fairs will be specific to certain industries or regions, so it’s important to do some research to find out which fairs would be most relevant to you.
Applying for jobs:
Once you understand the industry you want to work in, it’s time to start applying for jobs! Applying for jobs can be tricky, but plenty of resources can help make the process easier. The Disability Employment Adviser at your local Job Centre can help with writing CVs and cover letters, as well as preparing for interviews. Alternatively, many jobs boards have sections specifically for disabled jobseekers that list various jobs tailored to your skillset.
To summarise, you can follow several different pathways to pursue your dream job! With this guide and other available support, we hope that you feel confident in taking the next steps on your career journey! For job opportunities from disability-inclusive employers, look at our specialist jobs board!