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2004 Conference Archive
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Employment experiences of the six adults with the label of 'learning difficulties'

Ghasem Norouzi, Inclusive Education and Equality Research Centre, University of Sheffield

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This paper discusses the findings of the life histories of work of the six adults with the label of 'learning difficulties' in Vollbury in England. The stories indicate several aspects of the current and previous employment experiences of the six adults with learning difficulties including job title; work hours; type of work; weekly and hourly wages; the length of service with employers; type of workplace; job satisfaction; ways of finding job; reasons for leaving job and employment barriers.

The findings show that the employment circumstances of these people are very poor. In addition, the findings show a number of negative characteristics of the employment for these people including working in low-status occupations, having unpaid job, working full-time for nothing (no wage), working in segregated placements, unsatisfactory of jobs, employers' negative attitudes towards these people. The findings suggest that employers' negative attitudes, a lack of opportunities in mainstream employment are the barriers against employment for people with learning difficulties. The findings point towards a number of ways in which services can be improved for people with learning difficulties in the community: increasing supported employment; providing suitable employment opportunities particularly in mainstream employment and providing and structuring employment policy based on the social model rather than the medical mode of disability.

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