MACCLESFIELD-based organisation SUSO (Speaking Up, Speaking Out) is improving opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and additional needs by launching a new training programme to help get people closer to employment.
And it is calling on businesses in the area to do more to provide work for people with learning disabilities.
It says Macclesfield has seen positive economic growth since 2010, with unemployment falling by 45 per cent. However employment rates for people with learning disabilities are among the lowest compared to all people with a disability.
SUSO’s Skills Shop aims to give adults with learning difficulties and additional needs the skills and experience they need to take steps towards employment, while at the same time helping to boost the area’s economy.
SUSO’s Skills Shop, based on King Edward Street in Macclesfield town centre, is free to any adults (aged 25-60) in Cheshire East with learning disabilities and/or additional needs who are not in paid employment or currently seeking work.
Held part-time over 10 weeks, SUSO’s Skills Shop will help boost participant's confidence and support them to meet their aspirations by providing training tailored to their needs and helping to develop their skills.
After they have completed the course they will have the opportunity of six weeks part-time unpaid work experience with a variety of carefully matched organisations.
The first SUSO Skills Shop starts this month with further sessions throughout the next 12 months.
SUSO Skills Shop is part of the New Leaf programme, funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund, as part of their Building Better Opportunities programme.
Karen Keen, SUSO new projects director, said: “With the right support, people with learning disabilities and additional needs can, and do, make great employees, bringing a valuable contribution to the workplace.
“This makes a tremendous boost to their sense of achievement and self-esteem can be a hugely positive step in their health and wellbeing.”
Ms Keen adds: “Many people with a learning disability have been excluded from the workplace for a long time. They are keen to work hard and can do a great job with the right training and support.
“There is a lot of research that shows the many positive benefits for employers too - their enthusiasm can be infectious and team dynamics and overall performance are known to improve.
“We hope the employers of Cheshire East will start to be more willing to provide work opportunities to people with learning difficulties and recognise the benefits for both the individuals and organisations alike.”
If anybody would like more information about joining SUSO’s Skills Shop; or if there are any businesses, large or small, who would like more information they can contact Hilary Spokes on 07701 322423.