North East NHS staff are supporting a national campaign to employ more people with a learning disability.
In recent years the employment rates for people with a learning disability have dropped and now stand at just six per cent in England.
Staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), the provider of mental health and disability services in the region, have already signed up to the initiative that will run alongside and complement their longstanding commitments as a Two Ticks and Mindful Employer.
Lisa Crichton-Jones, executive director of workforce and organisational development at NTW, said: “In October we signed up to the Learning Disability Employment Pledge which means we will take positive action to encourage applications from people with disabilities as well as developing an action plan to make this happen.
“Research shows that 65 per cent of people with a learning disability want to work and with the right support make extremely valuable employees, and crucially, opportunities with us will be paid in line with other similar jobs.
“We have met step one of the pledge by having ‘Two Ticks’ accreditation and we are working towards step two of the pledge where we will put in place an action plan to employ more people with learning disabilities.”
Lisa added: “With the NHS being the fifth largest employer in the world, with 1.7 million workers across England, Wales, Scotland Northern Ireland, if all Trust’s sign up to the Learning Disability Employment Pledge then this would make an enormous change to the lives of those with a learning disability.”