Here at SWALLOW, we strive to create employment opportunities for our members, to help increase equity in the local workforce for people with learning disabilities. This month, one of our members who has a learning disability, M, celebrated his 10th anniversary working for SWALLOW. He works every Monday as cleaner at our main offices. To celebrate this milestone, many of the office team gathered together on the 22nd January to congratulate him on his achievement and to give him some flowers and chocolates – he was very pleased!
Last year, another of our members, L, also celebrated her 10 years working at SWALLOW. At the time, she told us ‘I like getting paid, I always save it all up. Having a job makes me more independent.’ She also said that she would like to tell other employers that she is very hardworking.
Mencap states that only 5.1% of people with a learning disability in England have a paid job – compared with 75.8% of the general population. The statistic is really low and we want to help more people get into work. At our Evaluation Day last year, lots of our members said that they would like to work and that this is really important to them.
A new report by the ‘WorkL Global Workforce’ has found that has found that employees who are disabled are less happy across the board than non-disabled employees. The report states that people with a disability are more likely to want to leave their jobs than people without disabilities. It is simply not good enough that this is the case in 2024.
However, it is great to see that Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has got behind this issue and is now calling for employers to ‘shift the dial’ when it comes to creating fair and equal workplaces. She says ‘despite the prevailing narrative that the world is now more accessible for disabled people, they are still coming up against a variety of barriers both in and outside the workplace.’
SWALLOW is focusing on employment this year and is calling on local businesses in the Somer Valley area to get in touch if they would like to work together to enhance workplace accessibility for local people with learning disabilities.
Some SWALLOW staff commented on M’s work at his anniversary and said that ‘M is reliable, hardworking, virtually never off sick. He uses a task sheet to help complete all of his jobs. One of the great benefits of employing someone with a learning disability is their commitment to the job – he is a really good example of this.’
Our Chief Executive said ‘M is always happy and says ‘hello’ to everyone when he arrives and he notices when they are away or on holiday. M enjoys polishing the sinks and desks until they are really shiny.’