Oxford charity calling for more employment opportunities for people with learning disabilities

  • ITV Meridian reporter Kara Digby has been to meet Lukas at the cafe offering life-changing opportunities

A charity in Oxfordshire is calling for employers to do more to get people with learning disabilities into the world of work.Yellow Submarine, which has cafes in Oxford and Witney, is offering people living with autism and other additional needs the chance to boost their skills, confidence and show what they can offer.

Lukas Blake is 22 and is one of the members of staff in Oxford. He has autism and told ITV News Meridian finding employment can often be a disappointing and stressful experience.

All trainees have a minimum of 3 shifts a week, with one day a week in the classroom to help them towards employment. It's unpaid, but is classed as an education course.

Lukas said: "Here I feel like I'm actually doing stuff - the fact that there is a good variety and it's not stagnant. I could be making toasties, or smoothies, or serving people on the till."

Lukas is on a traineeship in the cafe, which helps to bridge the gap between education and employment

According to the charity Yellow Submarine's impact report only around 5% of adults with a learning disability are in employment.

Meanwhile, the National Autistic Society says 78% of adults with autism are unemployed.

Rachel Blakey from Yellow Submarine said: "Putting on your application form that you welcome applicants from different groups, is a different thing than putting things in place to support them to get them through the recruitment process, but also to sustain their employment.

"Rather than having to do an interview, a work trial might be a better way of seeing what somebody is able to do."

The charity says: "We remove barriers to work and challenge preconceptions so our trainees can thrive and reach their full potential."

The charity says 58% of their trainees that have a learning disability moved straight into paid employment and only 6% of our trainees with autism did not secure employment.

Lukas says he would like to work in a hospital one day, so the charity is helping him to get work experience as a porter at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...