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Wokingham borough is the best place to find work if you have a learning disability

Wokingham borough is the best place to find work if you have a learning disability

Optalis and Wokingham Borough Council are proud to announce that Wokingham borough has ranked number one in England for the proportion of adults with a learning disability in paid employment for 2022-23. The measure sits as part of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF), which is the system used in the UK to assess how well care and support services achieve the outcomes that matter most to people. The ASCOF is used both locally and nationally to set priorities for care and support, measure progress and strengthen transparency and accountability.

Optalis Supported Employment Service are a specialist team, who provide tailored support to people with a physical or learning disability, mental health issues, a long-term health condition, an acquired brain injury, neurodiversity, sensory impairment, substance use issues and carers. The service has kept Wokingham borough in first place in England (and the South East), making it a great place to find work if you have a learning disability.

"We are thrilled to achieve the top ranking for adults with learning disability in paid employment. This accomplishment reflects our ongoing commitment to support and enable people find and maintain employment. Working collaboratively with employers in our community our team of skilled and experienced Employment Coaches implement effective strategies and support systems to enable those who face barriers to find and retain work. The outcomes measured in the ASCOF reflect a dedicated, and talented team, who I am proud to work with," said Donna Morgans, Optalis Head of Supported Employment Services.

The team have consistently maintained a high level of outcomes for the people they work with, having held the number 1 position in the South East for the last five years. Not only have they maintained a top spot in the area, but they have continued to increase their outcomes, raising the percentage of people with learning disabilities in the Wokingham borough in paid work from 20.7% in previous year to 21.1% for the figures published for 22/23 more than four times the national average (4.8%). And against the ongoing trend of either flat or falling figures for this group.

David Birch, CEO Optalis, added:

"This is an amazing achievement and a wonderful tribute to all the hard work, commitment, dedication, professionalism and kindness of the team. Their ability, individually and collectively, to support each client to achieve their dreams is simply outstanding and thanks to their continued hard work many people in the boroughs we serve are now able to do jobs that bring them dignity, respect and fulfilment."

Cllr David Hare, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services at Wokingham Borough Council, said: 

“This is fantastic news and I’d like to congratulate the team on the support they provide to so many adults with learning disabilities entering and working in paid employment.”

The Optalis Support Employment Service invests a huge amount of effort and time to support so many in our community to gain access to employment and also to stay in work. This is hugely important for those with disability to have the opportunity to thrive in a job as it is great for boosting their independent. And it is great achievement that our team tops the table in England for this vital service.

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