Learning Disability in Leeds

Participants in the short film about inclusive employment


There is a hive of activity taking place across the city which is supporting people in Leeds with learning disabilities with skills and employment opportunities…


The Leeds Learning Disability Partnership Board has a co-created a strategy called ‘Being Me’, which aims to make Leeds the best city to live in for people with learning disabilities. It is an exciting plan for Leeds intending to make real changes for people with learning disabilities, including a key theme around employment opportunities for people with a learning disability.

A cross-sector group called the Autism and Learning Disability Employment Task Group meets regularly to progress an action plan to improve employment outcomes for people with a learning disability or autism. For more information contact katie@lighthousefuturestrust.org.uk


Developing You is a free training programme for adults with learning disabilities and autism which explores issues around well-being and work. The group take 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 what steps they could take to get there.

The Developing You programme is delivered by Pyramid of Arts and partners and is funded by the Leeds City Council Adults and Health budget via Leeds Community Foundation, specifically to help achieve the aims of the Autism and Learning Disability Employment Task Group’s Ambition Statement. Other funded projects include work-based training at Hamara Healthy Living Centre, a network of peer support work clubs to raise the aspirations of people with learning disabilities, and a city-wide job coaching training programme targeting key workers.

The fourth Developing You cohort is running from September 2023, for referrals contact sarah@pyramid.org.uk

As part of the work of 100% Digital Leeds, the city’s digital inclusion programme, a specific programme has been created to support people with autism and learning disabilities with digital inclusion. This is in response to issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, where some organisations reported feeling at a loss when it came to supporting people with learning disabilities to use digital technology. The Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Network (ALaDDIN) brings organisations together to collaborate, share expertise, and increase capacity. ALaDDIN is chaired by the city’s Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Coordinator.

The programme has also worked with people to create video CVs as an alternative way to apply to jobs. Take a look at the example on this page. A guide co-produced with people with learning disabilities has also been created for organisations around the city to support the people they work with to create video CVs - Accessible Video CV Guide - Being Employed Leeds

Using money awarded from Inclusion International, a team of people with learning disabilities have created a film to educate employers on how they can make their workplaces more inclusive. The film, which launches in Spring 2023, 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. For more information contact the Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Coordinator: Nicky@pyramid.org.uk

Leeds Museums and Galleries runs a project called Careers for All, helping to inspire young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities about cultural careers. It involves a whole host of activities including careers fairs, outreach, career taster days, work placements and site visits and tours, as well as digital experiences such as ‘Zoom the Professional’.

As a result of the project, a partnership has developed between Leeds City Council and Luminate Education Group to explore barriers to recruitment for people with learning disabilities. Three focus groups were formed with students, people with learning disabilities and professionals, and this is leading to change not only in Leeds Museums and Galleries but across Leeds City Council. For more information please contact carl.newbould@leeds.gov.uk

The Department for Education is providing funding to support all Local Authorities to access, establish or develop SEND employment forums to improve the provision of Supported Internships across the country. A Supported Internship is a specialist study programme aimed at young adults aged 18-25 who have additional educational need and/or a disability and provides a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an expert job coach. The grant will also be used to build capacity within SMEs to host placements for supported interns and improve provision in their local area.

Resources for people with learning disabilities

The Being Employed Leeds website is an easy read and accessible website for people with learning disabilities to be able to look for jobs and training to get a job in Leeds - Being Employed Leeds - Easy read and accessible information about jobs.

Another important website is START in Leeds, providing detailed careers information and support for young people over the age of 16, with a dedicated section on supported learning. The website provides a list of specialist education providers including Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres, colleges, sixth forms with resourced provision, work based learning and employment resources - Start (startprofile.com)

Support for employers

In support of employers, the Leeds Inclusive Employer Network brings together like-minded employers who are interested in employing people with learning disabilities and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), helping them on their journey to create more inclusive workplaces. To get involved, contact james.turner@leeds.gov.uk.