my AFK

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by my AFK's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from my AFK is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.my-afk.org

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
14 | MY AFK
Chief Executive GrahamDuncan
One of our young people,
Krystina, at work
After raising funds to purchase a wheelchair for the child
of a friend, Sally Bishop founded my AFK in 1992. The
charity, which works nationally to support disabled
children, young people and their families, believes that everyone
has the right to work. As such, it provides employment and
volunteering opportunities for young disabled people, working
to ensure the best possible fit for both the employee and the
employer. Chief Executive Graham Duncan explains how the
charity supports disabled people by enabling them to lead the
life they choose.
We continue to champion the rights of disabled people to this day since our
founding almost thirty years ago. The mid 1990s saw Sally add work-related
learning to our remit. A diverse range of careers are available to our young people,
from major high street restaurant chains such as Nando’s and McDonald’s to
international legal firms and consultants.
Job carving
Our job coaches assess the strengths of our trainees, allowing them to find a role
which fits them best. We find that some of the young adults we work with excel in
the more social side of work and are therefore well suited to front-of-house roles.
One success story is Nathan, now a permanent member of staff at Itsu. Prior to
working with us, Nathan had never been on a bus on his own, nor had a job. In
this instance, a working interview highlighted that Nathan was suited to some
FACTS ABOUT
MY AFK
»Chief Executive:
GrahamDuncan
»Founded in 1992
»Located in London
»Services: Promoting
employment for young
disabled people
»No. of employees: 40
my AFK
15MY AFK |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
aspects of the work but not others.
Working with Itsu branch staff, we
adopted an approach known as “job
carving”, creating a job that suited
his unique set of skills. In its simplest
terms, “job carving” involves the
employer dividing the work into its
component parts and then picking
those parts that the young person
can do, allowing them to have a job
that they can fill in its entirety. After
a three-month probation period as a
front-of-house team member, Nathan
is now confident and independent
and enjoying being paid for doing a
greatjob.
Our role involves working with the
employer as much as the employee.
A significant proportion of employers
are concerned as to how best to
accommodate a diverse range of
employees. We help employers to
provide the support our trainees
require to perform in their jobs. Our
work makes it possible for employers
to tap into alternative pools of talented
employees to staff their businesses.
A job is for life
Through working with young people
aged up to 25, we are able to ensure
they are employable for life. Many
of our trainees are autistic or have a
learning disability. Investing as early
as possible is fundamental to creating
workplaces and workers who are able
to interact with one another in the
most viable way possible.
Recent studies have found that the
more work experience young people
have access to, the more comfortable
they feel in the workplace. The young
people we work with are no different,
and we endeavour to provide as much
work experience, in as many different
workplaces, as possible. Through
providing high-quality work experience
in the real world, we believe we can
prepare our trainees for successful
working lives.
More than 52 per cent
Only 52 per cent of disabled people
are in work, compared to 82 per cent
of non-disabled people. For people
with a learning disability or difficulty –
LDD – the figure is a shocking six per
cent. We feel this huge disparity is due
to a range offactors.
We find that a central challenge is
the artificial divide between disabled
people and the rest of society.
We believe this can be resolved by
developing increased and improved
communication between employers,
employees and the public regarding
their work and their workplace.
There are other barriers to employment
faced by disabled people. A classic
interview does not work for a number
of our young adults, and as such we
encourage employers to perform
working interviews, in order to assess
how suitable the individual is for
particular work.
Nathan with his
manager at Itsu
A significant
proportion of
employers are
concerned as to
how best to
accommodate a
diverse range of
employees. We
help employers
to provide the
support our
trainees require
to perform in
their jobs
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
15MY AFK |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
aspects of the work but not others.
Working with Itsu branch staff, we
adopted an approach known as “job
carving”, creating a job that suited
his unique set of skills. In its simplest
terms, “job carving” involves the
employer dividing the work into its
component parts and then picking
those parts that the young person
can do, allowing them to have a job
that they can fill in its entirety. After
a three-month probation period as a
front-of-house team member, Nathan
is now confident and independent
and enjoying being paid for doing a
greatjob.
Our role involves working with the
employer as much as the employee.
A significant proportion of employers
are concerned as to how best to
accommodate a diverse range of
employees. We help employers to
provide the support our trainees
require to perform in their jobs. Our
work makes it possible for employers
to tap into alternative pools of talented
employees to staff their businesses.
A job is for life
Through working with young people
aged up to 25, we are able to ensure
they are employable for life. Many
of our trainees are autistic or have a
learning disability. Investing as early
as possible is fundamental to creating
workplaces and workers who are able
to interact with one another in the
most viable way possible.
Recent studies have found that the
more work experience young people
have access to, the more comfortable
they feel in the workplace. The young
people we work with are no different,
and we endeavour to provide as much
work experience, in as many different
workplaces, as possible. Through
providing high-quality work experience
in the real world, we believe we can
prepare our trainees for successful
working lives.
More than 52 per cent
Only 52 per cent of disabled people
are in work, compared to 82 per cent
of non-disabled people. For people
with a learning disability or difficulty –
LDD – the figure is a shocking six per
cent. We feel this huge disparity is due
to a range offactors.
We find that a central challenge is
the artificial divide between disabled
people and the rest of society.
We believe this can be resolved by
developing increased and improved
communication between employers,
employees and the public regarding
their work and their workplace.
There are other barriers to employment
faced by disabled people. A classic
interview does not work for a number
of our young adults, and as such we
encourage employers to perform
working interviews, in order to assess
how suitable the individual is for
particular work.
Nathan with his
manager at Itsu
A significant
proportion of
employers are
concerned as to
how best to
accommodate a
diverse range of
employees. We
help employers
to provide the
support our
trainees require
to perform in
their jobs
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | MY AFK
A common problem we face in
providing employment opportunities
for young disabled people is the fact
that most jobs require the employee
to do a number of tasks. A position
which requires a multi-skilled approach
may not be suitable for a trainee until
they have had the opportunity to
build their confidence and skills. We
believe that being flexible is integral
to employing a diverse workforce.
This is the reason for adopting the
“jobcarving”approach.
The biggest barrier is the expectation
that disabled people, particularly those
with learning disabilities, cannot work.
Medical and social care professionals
have told our trainees throughout
their lives that they will not be able to
work. In almost all cases, this is entirely
unjustified. When we expect more of
people, we get more.
We believe that it is essential to
expect the young people we work
with to pursue a career. We need
to go beyond the subconscious bias
that disabled people face every day.
Expectations have huge consequences,
and by encouraging all children to
be ambitious, these ambitions can be
met. This, coupled with more coherent
legislation and adequate funding for
job support programmes, can change
the lives of all those we work with.
The future is diverse
In the next five years, we hope to
focus in particular on developing the
role of our job coaches. Through
continuing to provide high-quality
support for both employers and
disabled people, we will further foster
the understanding that young disabled
adults are a valuable and integral part
of the workforce. If you are willing
to rethink how the work available
is divided up, there is a place for all
young disabled people to work, in
businesses ranging from companies of
two people to multinationals.
We all benefit from corporate social
responsibility, and the reality of a
diverse workforce is one we hope to
see more and more in the coming
years. The problems we face with
regard to the inclusion of disabled
people in the workplace are man-made
and solvable. By providing the right
kind of experience and support, we
believe that we can ensure everyone is
able to work.
The biggest
barrier is the
expectation
that disabled
people,
particularly
those with
learning
disabilities,
cannot work
Trainees during Working
With Disability Week

www.my-afk.org

This article was sponsored by my AFK. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development