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Valuing the diversity of our people

There are lots of reasons why people work or want to find work. Besides earning money, other reasons can include, following a passion, making a difference, social opportunities, and having a structure. Feeling valued and appreciated is also something most people hope to achieve.

However, gaining paid employment is not always easy for someone with a learning disability. According to Mencap’s 2019 Big Learning Disability Survey, just ‘23% of working age adults with a learning disability have a paid job’. In comparison, ‘76% of working age adults in the general population in the UK have paid employment’.

Supported employment opportunities

Terry knows his onions!At Brandon, we offer supported employment opportunities across our enterprises, which include a care farm, pottery, ceramics studio, and cafes. The aim is to overcome the barriers people may experience in finding and keeping a job.

We do this by offering meaningful employment which helps people to develop new skills, and build confidence and independence. We get to know the person and find out how best to support them, and then plan their support to ensure the best outcomes.

At our Elm Tree Farm enterprise, people with a learning disability or autism are trained in a range of farming activities. Exercise, being outdoors and connected to nature, having a purpose and a sense of responsibility, are just a few of the benefits.

Terry’s big achievement

Last month, Terry celebrated 40 years of market gardening at Elm Tree Farm. Several projects are based at the Farm, including Grounds and Gardens – our grounds maintenance and gardening service – and Terry has had a paid job with the team for many years.

Enterprise Packaging is another of our social enterprises. The team specialises in packaging solutions and has worked alongside the NHS for 15 years, providing kidney retrieval kits for hospitals across the UK.

“I am a key worker”

Hannah shows off her trophyHannah, who initially volunteered at the project, successfully gained a paid position in July 2021.

“I applied and I was offered the job. I like packing the kidney kits for the NHS - I like all of it really! My job is important to me because I am key worker, and it involves helping other people. I love it!

“I wanted to spend my first pay on this crystal trophy as a nice memory of when I started my paid job.'

Empowerment and pride

The project coordinator at Enterprise Packaging, Alex Bird, has been working with Hannah and the team for about 18 months. We asked him how he’s finding his new role.

“I had never worked in social care before, but I’ve found it to be such a joy. I love working with the people we support and helping them gain experience in important work skills.

“Hearing how people feel empowered and proud to be working, makes my work so worthwhile. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your thoughts about why your job is so important to you. What a beautiful way to commemorate your new job!”

The right support

At Brandon, we focus on ability. We believe that with the right support, people with a learning disability, autism, or both, can find and keep employment. We value the diversity of our workforce and appreciate all our employees, whether they have a disability or not.

Find out more

You can find out more about all our social enterprises and watch a series of short videos, by visiting the enterprise area of our website.

To find out more about working with us and to browse our current vacancies, please visit our jobs section.