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Disabled People Falling Victim To The Work-readiness Trap

IHC New Zealand wants to see more employers cut through the red tape when hiring people, particularly those with an intellectual disability.

IHC self-advocate David Corner says that lots of intellectually disabled people fall victim to the readiness trap.

“People with intellectual disability are often told they aren’t ready to do things, but not many people are ready to go out and do the big things in life,” says David. “We just let them try it, and we should let people with intellectual disability try things too.”

Research has shown that intellectually disabled people are great employees, and hiring them can result in improvements in profitability, greater cost-effectiveness, lower employee turnover, high rates of employee retention, reliability, punctuality, loyalty and benefits to the company image.

IHC Director of Advocacy Tania Thomas says she is keen to see more employers take the attitude of companies who are leading the way like Xtreme Contracting, which focuses on hiring workers who are keen and interested rather than requiring them to have training and qualifications before starting work.

“Intellectually disabled people have low levels of qualification attainment and employment despite research showing they are great employees,” says Tania.

“These disparities in employment cannot be ignored and it's time to challenge the status quo.

“Xtreme Contracting's proactive approach is very encouraging, and we need more employers to foster a similar environment of support and opportunity."

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Statistics from IHC’s From Data to Dignity report speak volumes:

  • 57% of intellectually disabled adults have no qualifications compared to 12% of the general population.
  • Only 21% of intellectually disabled individuals are employed, compared to 78% in the general population.
  • 39% of intellectually disabled youth aged 15-24 are not engaged in education, employment or training.
  • Intellectually disabled people are eight times more like to be on a benefit.

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