Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to support people with learning difficulties in Nottingham East constituency who are seeking paid employment.
The Government is committed to supporting claimants with learning difficulties in Nottingham, and across the country, move closer to the labour market or into work.
Learning disabled and autistic young people on their transition to employment can benefit from supported internships, which are aimed at young people with a learning disability or autism who have an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) plan. Supported internships usually last for 12 months and provide support from a specialist job coach. Whilst the Department for Education lead on this in England, the Department for Work and Pensions provides support through Access to Work where needed.
Additional Work Coach support for health journey claimants is a new Work Coach led support offer, which aims to help more disabled people and claimants with a health condition into, and towards, work. Our Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) deliver direct support to claimants who require additional work-related support and advice above our core Work Coach offer. DEAs continue to support all Work Coaches to deliver tailored, personalised support to all claimants with a disability or health condition.
People in particular disadvantaged groups can continue to benefit from support through the increased Flexible Support Fund and early priority access to the Work and Health Programme. In addition, the Intensive Personalised Employment Support provision provides highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people who want to work, but have complex needs or barriers and require specialist support to achieve sustained employment. Many disabled people can benefit from Access to Work, which is a demand-led discretionary grant scheme that provides funding for the extra disability-related costs people have when starting work, or maintaining employment. It can also support disabled people on an apprenticeship, traineeship, or Supported Internship.
We are working with employers to encourage them to become Disability Confident. The Disability Confident scheme encourages employers to take positive action to address the issues disabled employees face and improve their ability to recruit and retain disabled people.
Within Nottingham, our DEA’s can also refer claimants who require additional support to local initiatives, such as the Nottingham City Council’s Ways into Work Supported Employment Service, and the Well for Work programme, which helps people who are unemployed and facing health, language, or financial barriers to improve their wellbeing and find work.