Journeys back into work

A series of case studies on the subject of supported employment, made by IRISS in partnership with SUSE.

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Supported employment

The inequality between disabled people’s employment rates and those of the general population is stark. Despite, in the last decade, improved legislation and various employability initiatives to tackle the disparity, it’s still the case that:

“little progress has been made in increasing the level and quality of disabled people’s labour market participation”

— Meager and Huggins (Briefing for UKCES, 2011)

Changing this situation requires increased understanding of the contribution and support disabled employees can make and require. More high-quality specialist employability services are needed, and the approach with the most evidence of success is supported employment. The aim of supported employment is for disabled people to obtain sustainable, fairly paid work in the open labour market.

Supported employment is, by necessity, an individualised approach. Job coaches or employment support workers work with a client to determine their skills, needs and aspirations. Equally, the job coach works with employers: matching a job and employer to the client. The job coach has a role in supporting both the client and employer to ensure a mutually successful placement and on-going employment.

SUSE (Scottish Union of Supported Employment) is an umbrella organisation for public, private and voluntary bodies interested in supported employment. The four case studies that follow feature people supported in their employment by different SUSE member organisations. Together they provide a picture of the outcomes that supported employment can achieve, both for the clients of supported employment services, and for employers.

Adults in employment
Non-disabled people
76.4%
Disabled people
46.3%
Percentage gap between disabled and non-disabled
36.2
35.3
33.7
33.5
32.8
32.7
31.7
30.3
29.1
28.7
30.1
2002
2012
Adults of working age with a disability

15%

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All statistics from Labour Force Survey and Office for Disability Issues.