Unity Works awarded UKSPF funding to tackle youth unemployment for people with a learning disability

Posted 28/03/2024

We are very excited to announce that Unity Works has been awarded UKSPF funding to work with young people with a learning disability at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).

Unity Works are proud to announce that we have been awarded UKSPF funding to support young people with a learning disability across employment and wellbeing in London.

For too long young people with a learning disability and their families have been told at an early age not to expect too much.  The education systems and employment practises they must navigate are not designed to showcase their talents and this can lead to a lifetime of rejection culminating in the marginalisation of a group of individuals who have an awful lot to offer to the labour market.

This award from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will allow us to pioneer an innovative new model that will focus on intensive health and wellbeing coaching running alongside employability skills development to combat the debilitating low self-belief of our young people, raise their aspirations and support them to achieve them.

Our Managing Director, Claire Hilton, was asked to describe the importance of this programme to Unity Works as a small charitable enterprise operating in a huge sector:

“The skills and employment sector is dominated by huge educational establishments and private providers encouraged by multi million pound contracts and adept at delivering great outcomes for large numbers of learners and jobseekers, however this is very often at the detriment of those sections of society who may have additional needs or require a different way of doing things to get to the same point. This fund allows smaller organisations like ourselves, who are advocates for the most marginalised groups to show what we can do when we work with the people we support in the way they say they need us to.We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity and hope that the model will be one that can be replicated elsewhere so other young people with a learning disability can benefit too”.

We’re looking for a brand-new team of enthusiastic individuals to run this programme across London. Our Employment Service Manager, Helen Smith, talks about the qualities and skills we are seeking within individuals to be part of this initiative:

“We want people who are looking for more than just a job. We want people who are driven by witnessing the impact of their work everyday through the achievements of others.  We’re looking for creative and inclusive practitioners who are defiant in the face of obstacles to learning or the workplace for young people with a learning disability, acknowledging that this will look different for each and every individual they work with in order to be effective.

We want dynamic thinkers who will empower those young people to be bold, set and reach their own goals and confidently thrive in their learning and employment opportunities.

We need health and wellbeing coaches, an employment advisor, a referrals coordinator and an admin assistant to work together with Laura Murphy our contract manager and our community partners to deliver amazing outcomes for over a 100 young people across central London. This team will be a force to be reckoned with, demonstrating the effectiveness of a new model and the immense skills and qualities of London’s young people”.

To find out more about the roles contact Laura Murphy at laura.murphy@unityworks.org.uk.

Image that displays three logos of bodies that have awarded UKSPF funding to Unity Works. These three logos are: Funded by UK Government, Powered by Levelling Up and Supported by the Mayor of London.

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus