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Picture books to help those with learning disabilities find work

A new picture book-related project has been launched to help people with learning disabilities and autism in England prepare for the world of work.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ £280,000 project will facilitate group discussions on finding and keeping a job.

The government is working with social enterprise Beyond Words, which produces books, services and training for those who find pictures easier to understand than words. The project will include four new picture books that will focus on four stages of employment including leaving school or college, volunteering, finding work and staying in a job.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, said: “A disability should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life. What should count is a person’s talent and their determination to succeed.

“Beyond Words book clubs help people with a learning disability to break down the barriers they face. It’s a brilliant project that offers people with learning disabilities the support they need.”

People with a learning disability are more excluded from the workplace than any other group of disabled people. More than 65% of people with a learning disability and autism would like a paid job yet only 7% have one and in many cases this is part-time work.

ASDAN’s successful Workright programme provides a framework to develop basic transferable employability skills. It caters for a wide range of abilities from below Entry level to Entry 3. Modules include health and safety at work; responsibilities in the workplace (attendance, timekeeping, appearance); working with others; and you at work, which includes getting help with problems at work.

In addition, ASDAN’s popular Towards Independence programme is aimed at students with severe, moderate and profound and multiple learning difficulties. Last year, ASDAN launched a series of new Towards Independence World of Work modules for roles including that of retail assistant, care assistant and office assistant.

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