Untapped Talent: The Employer Benefits

28th October, 2014
Many employers in North Devon are unaware of the huge wealth of local talent available in the area – talent that could bring a host of business benefits to an organisation.

That’s the claim by the Northern Devon Employment & Skills Board who point to research showing that less than 7% of individuals with a learning disability are in paid employment* – despite really wanting to work.

They are teaming up with Devon County Council to draw attention to the untapped resource.

The Council is funding a year-long campaign to make North Devon businesses aware of the potential workforce, and of the many skills that people with disabilities can bring to their organisations.

As part of the campaign, North Devon+ is organising a breakfast meeting next month (Wednesday 12 November) that will showcase the skills and ambitions held by local people with disabilities.

Aimed at local employers, the free event will also provide information on employment law, equal opportunities and explain the free support available to businesses.

Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for services that support people with learning disabilities, said:

“We are attending the business breakfast as a way of reaching local employers. 

“We want businesses to be aware of the potential workforce and to see the opportunities and understand the benefits of employing people with disabilities.  And we want them to know that support is available to their businesses to help them employ people with disabilities.”

Sarah Grigg, Employment and Skills Manager at North Devon+ said:

“Research has shown that people with learning disabilities are keen to work and have a wide variety of skills that would benefit any business. Yet they face huge barriers in finding employment and this needs to be addressed.

“In contrast to recent debates, we’ve found that these individuals offer tangible advantages to employers. With a high work ethic, low absentee rates and often excellent attention to detail, this group of people should not be dismissed as unworthy of employment but recognised for their full value.

“Our aim, with the County Council and other partners, is to raise awareness of the magnitude of untapped talent in the area.  Employers are invited to attend the event to find out more.”

The breakfast meeting - hosted by the North Devon Manufacturers Association - will feature guest speakers from The National Autistic Society, North Devon District Hospital, SWM Waste Recycling, The Calvert Trust and Toller Beattie Solicitors.

It will take place on Wednesday 12 November, 7.30 – 9.30am at the Park Hotel, Barnstaple. It is free to attend, but pre-booking is essential – please visit to book your place.