Top tips for employers


20 / 9 / 2011 6.45pm

Attracting potential applicants

  • Use positive wording in advertising, for example: welcome, committed to being disability confident.
  • If you use an external agency, ask for evidence that they make reasonable adjustments for learning disabled applicants.
  • Contact your local supported employment agency to explore how you can work together.
  • Consider targeted recruitment and contact organisations that work with the learning disabled, such as BASE members, Remploy, and the Shaw Trust. See the useful organisations page for more information. Advertise in variety of media in addition to usual mainstream, for example, local radio

Job descriptions, selection process

  • Provide job descriptions in Easy Read format.
  • Concentrate on what is to be achieved in a job rather than how it is achieved. For example, a person with learning disabilities may use equipment to record information rather than write something.
  • Accept completed application forms in alternative formats, such as voice recorded or web cam.
  • Note that a written application may have been completed with support from someone else.


  • Identify alternative ways of interviewing to get the best information from the applicant eg “speed dating” type conversations rather than panel interview.
  • If you have doubts about ability to do an activity, ask the person how they would do it.
  • Allow more than usual time to answer a question, address questions to the applicant not the support worker and be ready to asked closed questions eg can you use email?
  • Be prepared for a few silences and don’t jump in to fill them.
  • Make it clear that a support worker or Job coach can attend with the applicant.
  • Consider if the applicant would benefit from seeing how the job is done.
  • Consider a job trial rather than an interview and be prepared to consider other approaches.


  • Ensure all above considerations are in place for appraisal and if the person applies for promotion.
  • Plan reasonable adjustments as soon as possible after acceptance of job and consult individual, support worker and manager for regular reviews on reasonable adjustments.
  • Recognise this may be a new social environment and allow time to adjust to new behaviours and expectations.
  • Ensure employee knows that harassment/bullying is not tolerated and how to raise concerns should this arise. 


  • Help staff understand the benefits of employing people with a learning disability (financial, social, patient experience, positive team impact).
  • Check organisational policies and procedures comply with the Equality Act 2010.
  • Do not make assumptions about what a person with learning disabilities can and cannot do.
  • Be aware of available support such as Access to work and Work Choice - see the guidance and resources page for more information.
  • Ensure your ongoing employment activities include employees with learning disabilities. For example, conduct PR and marketing activities that involve people with learning disabilities.
  • Remember the 'unwritten rules' of your organisation and consider how to share these.


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