The National Development Team for Inclusion are working to dispel myths that disabled people can’t work, can only do certain jobs, and can only work minimal hours per week. Employers who hire disabled people report increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, improved reputation, and reduced staff turnover.

Ellen Atkinson is Regional Adviser of the National Development Team for Inclusion. Ellen has worked with disabled people for over 30 years, starting her career by working in supported employment for disabled young people leaving college.

She is now an associate with the National Development Team for inclusion (NDTi) who are commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver the Preparing for Adulthood programme in partnership with the Council for Disabled Children. She is the regional adviser for the East for England and the East Midlands. In this role she works on the development of supported internships and supports Local Authorities, schools, FE providers and partners to develop the Preparing for Adulthood pathways.

Previously Ellen worked as a Director for the Learning and Skills Council where she led work on developing local post-16 education provision for young people with learning disabilities. She initiated and led the ‘Improving Choice’ pathfinder and the development of the Learning for Living and Work framework which was tested as a multi-agency model to improve transition processes. The work informed the thinking of the Department for Education on the single education, health, and care plan to replace the statementing process. She has also worked on the Valuing Employment Now strategy and Jobs First for the Department of Health.

In this session from the Youth Employability 2021 conference, Ellen discussed the value in hiring disabled people, pathways into employment, and best practice for supporting disabled young people when they enter the workplace.

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There is often a misconception that disabled people are not as capable of holding down jobs or working in skilled sectors. We heard from Ellen Atkinson, Regional Adviser at the National Development Team for Inclusion. Ellen discussed why these myths should be dispelled and how employers can create pathways for disabled people to enter the workplace.

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