As part of the content for our website, we thought we would introduce each of the partnering organisations involved in the BELVEDERE project, so everyone has a little background information on the work they do and why they decided to get involved with BELVEDERE.
First up to be introduced is ENABLE Works, one of the largest specialist employability services in Scotland. ENABLE Works works across 28 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities and supports over 5000 people with a disability into work every year.
The organisation is the employability arm of the ENABLE group, which is made up of three pillars- ENABLE Scotland, ENABLE Works and ENABLE Cares. ENABLE Scotland campaigns and empowers people across Scotland to speak up for the human rights of every person who has a learning disability. All our campaigns are developed based on the experience of our members, ensuring we focus on the issues that have the most impact on their lives and that we are working to drive change wherever it is needed.
ENABLE Cares provides human rights driven, self-directed health & social care to people across Scotland. We support people to shape their own support and enable them to live the life they choose as independently as possible within their own communities.
ENABLE Works is our employability arm and the part of the group that is involved in the BELVEDERE project. We support people with disabilities and health conditions to address the barriers they may be facing to employment, explore their own individual talents and qualities, build their skills and move into meaningful, sustainable employment. We also work with over 2,000 employers across Scotland to increase diversity within their workforce and adopt inclusive workplace practices. We have a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion team who support employers to gain a greater understanding of disability issues and help them to feel more confident in hiring disabled employees and supporting them in the workplace. This works goes hand-in-hand with our supported employment models, which provide holistic, person-centred specialist support for people with disabilities or long-term health conditions with the aim of moving them into valued, fulfilling work roles.
Our organisation was created in 1954, when five sets of parents met in Glasgow to discuss the possibility of setting up a Scottish organisation to help parents of children who have a learning disability, and to get better services for their families. At the time, most children and adults in the UK who had learning disabilities were living with and cared for by their families, but they faced strong stereotypes, stigmatism and a lack of support. These families wanted to change that and on the day they set up their initial meeting, over 300 people attended. An organisation was born and 40 years later that organisation would become ENABLE Scotland. Since then we have fought to ensure that people who have learning disabilities have the same human rights as others, enabling them to play a part in their communities, to have an education and a job, and to develop the friendships that others take for granted.
My role within ENABLE Works is as an Employability Team Leader for our All in Glasgow programme, a supported employment project for people with a disability or long-term health condition living in Glasgow City- created to address their needs and aspirations. In 2018, the Scottish Government published their Disabled People and the Labour Market statistics, which showed that that nationally 45.6% of disabled people were in employment, compared to 81.1% of the non-disabled population. However, in Glasgow this was much lower, with only 36% of disabled people in employment and the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19 expected to make the situation much worse. This is why All in Glasgow is specifically aimed at ensuring well-paid, sustainable jobs for the people we support and ensuring organisations in the city have a culture, practices and overall strategy which is fair and inclusive.
ENABLE Works were extremely keen to be involved in the BELVEDERE project when we heard of the aims to identify best practice examples and approaches of supporting disadvantaged clients across Europe into employment and developing further ones. It is crucial that the professionals supporting our clients can identify appropriate digital tools to empower our clients and prepare them for their new working lives. Digital technology is more readily available than ever before and will arguably play a central role in both the personal and professional lives of our clients. Being digitally literate in today’s world has overwhelming benefits for our clients and so it is incredibly important that practical and sustainable measures are taken to ensure clients can access available digital tools which will be appropriate to their specific requirements and initial and ongoing support is available to them in using these tools.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, being digitally literate has had invaluable benefits. The internet has meant we could keep connected with our friends and family, we can be kept informed on current events in our local areas and world news, and it has also been used for entertainment, online learning, work, shopping and countless other public services. For all of these reasons, ENABLE Works are incredibly excited to be a part of the BELVEDERE project and developing a toolkit which looks at innovative uses of digital technology and sharing an approach which can be adopted across Europe to support our clients and ensure that they too can reap the benefits of an increasingly digital world!