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Government to help people with learning difficulties into work


The Government is to investigate ways help people with learning disabilities into work, Minister for Disabled People Jonathan Shaw said today.

Internships designed to help people with learning disabilities into work will be tested by employers across England.

Project Search provides a series of internships with an employer for people with learning disabilities and 14 sites, announced today, will take part in a Government evaluation of the model from next September.

Project Search provides interns with essential work and social skills to help people with learning disabilities into real jobs.

Jonathan Shaw said: "We realise that only a small number of people with learning disabilities who receive adult social services are in work and we know that many more want real jobs. It's our duty to give them all the help and support they need to get into and stay in work. We want people to fulfil their potential and build a better life for themselves and their families.

"Project Search is a great opportunity to provide valuable internships, and the real possibility of a job, for people with learning disabilities. This is a vital programme to help people overcome barriers to work."

Minister for Care Services Phil Hope affed: "Everyone wants to feel valued and work plays an important role in this. We are committed to removing the barriers individuals with learning disabilities face getting into paid work and promoting good practice.

"Project Search has a proven track record in the USA in helping employers tap into the talent and skills those with learning disabilities have to offer."

Project Search is a model developed in Cincinnati Children's Hospital to support people with moderate to severe learning disabilities into work. In the US, the model has been successful - 80 per cent of students who completed the Project Search programme in 2006-7 are now in full-time employment. Typically, 25 per cent to 40 per cent of US interns are hired by the host organisations.