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“Only 5.6% of individuals with learning disabilities are in employment across the UK. This has to change!”
Could you imagine what you would do if the UK’s unemployment rate spiked to 94%? Can you imagine facing such odds not to mention the struggles of having no steady income? I don’t think most people could even accurately fathom how they would act. I know I can’t. Yet this is exactly what individuals with learning disabilities in the UK are facing right now. Only 5.6% of individuals with learning disabilities are in employment across the country.
National Disability Employment Awareness month, or NDEA, takes place every October and asks us as a people to reflect on and celebrate the many contributions individuals with disabilities have made for society. NDEA also challenges us to review the current state of working conditions and opportunities afforded by people with disabilities, or more poignantly, the lack of, and why it is important for us as a people to improve these conditions.
National Disability Employment Awareness month
In honour of National Disability Employment Awareness month, we want to spread the awareness of this fact and introduce the man who is on a crusade to change this.
Situated in Liverpool, UK, 6 Percent & Rising is an organisation lead by recent graduate Harry Georgiou. From his own experience with knocking down barriers since the age of 11 and witnessing the lack of opportunities that were afforded to him and others like him, Harry is rallying others to champion a future in which individuals with disabilities can succeed in employment based on their passions and abilities.
The name and the mission come from the aforementioned statistic, that under 6% of people with learning disabilities are employed. This number comes from government records and surveys conducted by 6 Percent in the UK and highlights how the near entirety of people like Harry are not afforded the security, freedom and opportunities that having an income brings. While it is not always easy to put oneself into someone else’s shoes, it is not hard to imagine why supporters of Harry and similar organisations want to improve the situation.
As with any problem, the first step is to identify the root cause(s) which is what 6 Percent has done by highlighting the five main areas that contribute to this lack of inclusion.
Lack of mandatory reporting nor enforcement across the UK for employers to report both employment figures and pay when it comes to disabled employees.
Lack of representation and visibility of the talents and success of individuals with disabilities in employment.
Lack of training and access to knowledge.
Lack of progress in the growth of individuals with disabilities being hired, with even apprenticeships seeing a decline by 9% in the last 2 years. This is largely contributed by the next root cause.
Lack of understanding and fear of getting it wrong makes conversation on this subject among the general public difficult and uncommon. Research by Scope (a charity in England and Wales) shows nearly half of the British public do not personally know anyone who is disabled and two-thirds of those surveyed worry about saying something inappropriate or use an offensive term by mistake.
Understanding that remedying this lack of representation and information is the first step; Harry invites members of the public to learn more about the struggles people with disabilities unfairly face and take part in his vision. After all, whether you personally know someone with a disability, have a disability yourself or were unaware of the current situation, allowing a 94% unemployment rate to remain the norm only continues to disbenefit our society.
“It’s been great to work with Xander on such an amazing project and we are making a real difference. I have enjoyed working with the team in developing this project and everyone has worked extremely hard on it. I have enjoyed every second I have spent with them.” – Harry Georgiou
All that is said and done, Xander Talent’s relationship to 6 Percent goes beyond simply spreading Harry’s vision. Xander’s commitment to giving talented individuals from all backgrounds, including those often overlooked, a chance to succeed in their profession directly supports 6 Percent.
This is why our team of Data Analysts and Business Change Consultants have collaborated with 6 Percent’s team, from designing strategic growth and engagement reports across multiple social platforms to connecting with other inclusion-focused communities. Our achievements thus far include receiving interest from professional organisations regarding the future employment of our Liverpool 100 case study participants. We have also opened conversations with SEND and communities in other countries (including the inclusion groups in Uganda!).
Harry has also recently gone on to establish a youth council for those with learning disabilities.
If like these organisations, you want to know more and participate, you can explore more of Harry’s vision here (https://bit.ly/3B9fAii) and follow 6 Percent and Rising’s activities here (https://bit.ly/3b6elpq).