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Employment Services: Down’s Syndrome

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to help people with Down’s syndrome into work. (253097)

We have significantly improved and strengthened the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, so that it now provides a comprehensive set of enforceable rights for disabled people, including those with Down’s syndrome.

We also operate a number of different schemes that disabled people can access in order to help them find work.

Remploy offers support to disabled people with job search facilities and includes one-to-one advice and guidance. Remploy can also set up individually designed development plans, as well as offering in-work support and access to a range of local employment opportunities. Remploy has a proven track record of finding jobs for disabled people.

Jobcentre Plus is committed to supporting disabled people, including those with Down’s syndrome, to find suitable, sustainable employment in their local area. It does this through its personal advisers, including Disability Employment Advisers.

Jobcentre Plus works with a range of providers from the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide specialist disability programmes to help disabled people to overcome the labour market barriers they may face, these include Work Preparation, WORKSTEP (a programme of supported employment), New Deal for Disabled People, Residential Training and the Job Introduction Scheme. Disability Employment Advisers have access to work psychologists to assist them in supporting customers if appropriate.

Disability Employment Advisers are also able to facilitate disabled people’s applications to Access to Work, which can assist an individual who already has a job or has a job to start. Access to Work can provide practical advice and support to the disabled person and their employer to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. All Access to Work support is tailored to the individual’s needs.

The Government have also set up the “Employ ability” programme, in which we are currently engaging with employers to improve their understanding of disability and their attitudes towards employing disabled people, with long-term health conditions. “Employ ability” is aimed at small to medium-sized employers and is being rolled out to Scotland, Wales and seven regions between 24 March 2008 and 27 February 2009.