Supporting employability for people with learning disabilities and autistic people

It is well known that having access to meaningful employment opportunities can make an incredibly positive difference to people’s lives. Being in employment usually means that people are better off financially and have access to workplace benefits such as pensions.  Furthermore, being in work can give people the chance to socialise and build their self confidence, and can offer people a routine and sense of purpose.  However, according to NHS digital, only 5.1% of adults with a learning disability known to their local authority in England, is in paid work. 

The 100% Digital Leeds team believes that digital inclusion can help people to gain and retain employment, and our Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Coordinator has been working closely with partners in our Autism and Learning Disabilities Digital Inclusion Network, and others supporting people with learning disabilities and autistic people citywide, to improve employment outcomes for their members. 

Embedding digital inclusion into Developing You

Developing You is a free, twelve week training programme for adults with learning disabilities and autistic people, which explores issues around wellbeing and work. The group takes part in a range of activities to learn about the world of work, identifying their own skills and interests, thinking about what jobs they might be suited to, and identifying the steps they could take to get there.

Hear how previous learners have benefitted from attending the Developing You course.

100% Digital Leeds has worked with Pyramid to ensure that digital skills have been embedded into the Developing You course.  Our Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Coordinator has attended sessions to ensure that bespoke digital interventions are planned to support the needs of students, and has worked closely with tutors in the planning of the course.  She has also worked with tutors so that they feel confident signposting members for further digital support where required.

“Nicky made lots of helpful suggestions for how we could make using digital devices fun for the group and it has been great to see their confidence grow when it comes to activities like taking photographs or sending emails. Nicky shared advice and an accessible video CV guide with us which will enable members of the group who struggle to read and write apply for jobs. She also demonstrated how to use the accessible ‘Through the Maze,’ and ‘Being Employed Leeds,’ websites. These will be very useful tools for the group to use to find further social and employability opportunities in Leeds.”

Wendy, Developing You tutor.

The fourth cohort is running from September 2023. The course is open to people in the Leeds area aged 18+. Attending will not affect any entitlement to benefits that they may have. For referrals contact

Developing a guide to creating video CVs

100% Digital Leeds has worked with partners such as the Involvement Team at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) to help people create video CVs and application forms as an alternative way to apply for jobs. Making a video CV is not appealing to everyone, but it can remove barriers for people who struggle to read and write or who may be overwhelmed by traditional application forms. 

A written and video guide coproduced with people with learning disabilities has been created for people to use at home, or for organisations to use with their members. The guides can be accessed via the Being Employed Leeds website.

A video guide to creating video CVs

A member of the People Matters Employability Group, was recently successful in securing part time employment after creating a video CV:

“I applied for my job as a Community Connector with a video CV. We had a session at People Matters where we were taught about video CVs, and we were shown how to make them step by step. It was much easier for me to make a video CV than to make a written CV as it was quicker, and I didn’t have to worry as much about having to type up lots of words which takes a long time. I’d like other people with learning disabilities to learn about video CVs too as they can take away a barrier to getting a job, especially for people who can’t read and write very well. Having a job is important for me and it is incredibly important for other people with learning disabilities too. It means that I get out of the house, and I get to meet people regularly. It gives me a really good feeling to know that I am helping people. It also gives me money to spend on the things that I want and enables me to have a better quality of life.”

Robert, Community Connector at People Matters.

Inclusive employment film

Using money awarded from Inclusion International, 100% Digital Leeds worked with Pyramid and a team of people with learning disabilities to create a film to educate employers on how they can make their workplaces more inclusive, including supporting digital inclusion and improving access to accessible technologies.

The film, which launched in April 2023 with a screening at Leeds Industrial Museum, explores what’s already happening in the city, how organisations can remove barriers, and how workplaces can benefit from having people with learning disabilities as part of their team. 

Employment in Leeds video

Since its completion, the film has also been shared internationally at an Inclusion International workshop where it was viewed and well received by partners in South America, India, Africa and Europe. It was screened in Leeds market for Learning Disability Week and at the LEEP 1/Advonet Annual General Meeting (AGM).  It has since been shared with a range of local and national partners including REED, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and Touchstone. There are plans to screen the film at the next Leeds Inclusive Employment Forum. 

“The video not just for us, it is for all people. There are other people with disabilities who also want to think about getting jobs. We need a lot of help, everyone needs to be trying.”

Oliver, group member at Pyramid.

Future plans

100% Digital Leeds will continue to work on digital inclusion projects for people with learning disabilities, and will have a focus on projects that help people to manage their money and to access employment opportunities. Please contact our Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Coordinator if you are interested in working together or finding out more: