Stoke college launches employer forum on disability employment

Stoke business leaders and organisations have formed a steering committee to get disabled youngsters into paid work. A local specialised college in Stoke on Trent, Strathmore College, is organising an Employer Open Day Forum to help employers understand the riches of employing people with a learning difficulty/disabilities. The college wants to enable learners to have more opportunities to be successful in work, and equally for employers to benefit from their skills and talents.

The forum will promote the skills of people with learning difficulties/disabilities who are often overlooked, and encourage employers to look at their ability. Strathmore College supports young people aged 16 to 25 years old with a range of disabilities and conditions including Autism, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, mental health issues as well as social, emotional or physical difficulties.

The Employer Open Day Forum will take place at the Bet365 Stadium on 18 May. The Department for Work and Pensions, the Child Maintenance Service and the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are all supporting the event. A number of speakers will attend, including local Members of Parliament Gareth Snell and Jack Brereton. Mr Brereton is a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and has a special interest in the area.

The forum comes at a time when the Government is taking measures aimed at increasing the employment prospects of people with special needs. It has recently invested £9.7 million in supporting internships for people with learning difficulties. 

Kate Ward, Principal, said: “We have organised this event in order to increase awareness about the benefits people with learning difficulties/disabilities offer to employers. Working with our local partners we are already making important steps, but we hope that this opportunity will help to spread positive messages even further and make a real difference to the young people of Stoke.”

Tom Nadin, mentoring growth project manager at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “Nationally, only six per cent of youngsters with learning disabilities get into full-time employment, despite many of them being able to offer valuable work qualities to employers such as a strong work ethic, attention to detail and commitment to a role.”

Businesses interested in taking part in the initiative should contact Kate Ward, Principal at Strathmore College, on 01782 647380.