Build Blog

Government backs project by Beyond Words helping people with learning disabilities into work

Story added 13th Dec 2016

Photo: Damian Green, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, launches Beyond Words project in an event at Build

The new two year project from supports people with learning disabilities and autism to find work and was launched on 13 December by Damian Green, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – and is backed by a £280,000 investment from the Department of Work and Pensions. 

Beyond Words is a social enterprise which produces unique books, services and training for people who find pictures easier to understand than words. 

The launch event, where the Secretary of State met people who will benefit from the project, took place at Build in Covent Garden, where Beyond Words are also based.

The project will include four new picture books to promote group discussions on finding and keeping a job. Building on the success of book groups for people with learning disabilities and autism, the project will be the start of a new focus on four stages of employment - leaving school or college, exploring work, finding and staying in a job.

Beyond Words books are discussed in book club groups which have been established in many libraries in London. As part of the partnership between Beyond Words and Build, two brand new book clubs will start at Build’s Student Centre and Library in 2017. 

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, said:

“A disability should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life. What should count is a person’s talent and their determination to succeed. 

"Beyond Words book clubs help people with a learning disability to break down the barriers they face. It's a brilliant project that offers people with learning disabilities the support they need. I look forward to working with them."

People with a learning disability are more excluded from the workplace than any other group of disabled people. More than 65% of people with a learning disability and autism would like a paid job yet only 7% have one and in many cases this is part time work.

Employment advisers will visit the Beyond Words’ book clubs to use the new books and help members explore volunteering and work. People with learning disabilities will be trained as part of a national network of peer supporters to work with the clubs.

Baroness Hollins, Founder and Chair of Beyond Words, who also spoke at the launch event, said:

“The majority of disabled people want to work and hope that they can find work that interests them and recognises their skills. Beyond Words co-creates stories without words with people with learning disabilities that resonate with the reality of their own lives. They are stories that help people to understand the ways of the world, to share their own stories and aspirations and to tackle the barriers that prevent them from participating fully in community life.”



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