The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Women in the Changing World of Work: planet 50:50 by 2030 women symbol

We are all aware of the very low levels of employment of people with a learning disability and the aspirations of many people with a learning disability to find employment. In January 2016, the UK employment rate among working age disabled people was 46.5% (4.1 million), compared to 84%% of non-disabled people. Of these people, less than 20% with a learning disability work, but at least 65% of people with a learning disability want to work (Papworth Trust, Disability Facts and Figures 2016). Whilst we have been unable to find a breakdown by gender of this information, we wanted to share some inspiring stories from our members, and to get you all sharing your own!

So, to mark this, we are asking for pictures of women with learning disabilities in the workplace.

Please share them with us at @ARCEngland using the #IWD2017 hashtag. I’ve also attached some Selfie Props which you can download to use in your images.

If you have a related good news story you would like us to share, please email this to me as soon as possible and we will share on our website and social media.

To get us all started, ARC member Community Integrated Care have kindly shared the following with us: –

Meet Amy… Amy McConville - Costa Coffee - 1

Amy McConville is 28 years old, and is supported by our Vocational Support Service in Liverpool. Vocational Support is a service based in Liverpool which is dedicated to sourcing meaningful employment and work placements for people with support needs. Amy has always been a people person, and was overjoyed in 2010 when she landed her dream job at Costa Coffee at a local Retail Park. Since then, Amy’s progress has been phenomenal – she’s blossomed with confidence, skill and a passion for customer service. Her outstanding rapport with her customers has been recognised by everyone around her – she’s even met some famous faces, with her favourite being former Liverpool FC star, Luis Suarez. Her contribution to the team hasn’t gone unnoticed by her managers, who told us: “We love having Amy as part of our team. Not only is she hard working, she is an absolute star who never fails to bring a smile to everyone’s face!”

Louise Lamkin - Bluebell ParkMeet Louise… 

Louise Lamkin is Vocational Support’s very own IT whiz, and has recently found her perfect placement at one of Community Integrated Care’s Extra Care Services, Bluebell Park.

Working in a care environment has come naturally to Louise, who also helps support her Grandparents at home. Louise has bags of enthusiasm and drive in everything she does, whether it’s helping out with staff training or supporting the team with rotas and care plans, it’s done with a smile. Not content with all of this, she even finds time to write poetry and stories, and is planning a big birthday bash for her 30th later this year.

Meet Katie… 

Katie Bell - Everton in the Community

Die-hard Liverpool fan Katie Bell has put her sporting allegiances to one side to take up a role at Everton in the Community! Katie is a key member of the team, who helps out at the club’s dementia support group. Her work has even won her a couple of Everton in the Community Awards, in recognition of her commitment and great attitude. She’s known for making a great cup of tea and making the guests feel really welcome and at ease. Katie’s role means that she regularly meets legendary Everton players, and loves nothing more than telling them all about her love of the football team down the road! Katie likes to keep herself busy, and also spends several days a week volunteering for the British Heart Foundation and Barnados in their local shops. This all goes to show Katie’s dedication to volunteering and helping others, while putting her skills to great use.

We’re hoping that this International Women’s Day we can help focus on employment for all people with learning disabilities, especially women. It’s also important to recognise the numbers of women who work in our sector, *almost 80 per cent of non-medical health and social care service staff are women compared to 46 per cent of the wider workforce, and that it is also a larger proportion of women who are supporting family members at home.

(*NHS Information Centre (2008). Report. NHS Staff 1997-2007 (non-medical))