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Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust Becoming an inclusive employer

Written by on 4 February 2020

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust is working with Kent Supported Employment to become a more inclusive employer.
This is part of the NHS learning disability pledge, which encourages more NHS trusts to remove barriers to employment for people with disabilities.

In the past 18 months, Kent Supported Employment (KSE) has provided training and workshops to KCHFT staff and helped to job carve a number of full-time roles into part-time roles that can be offered to people with a learning disability.

To date, four roles have been created and filled. Three people were recruited by to the Community Paediatrics Team through the job carving process.

Lesley McWilliams, operational administration manager for the Community Paediatric Service, explained how the process had benefitted everyone: “The three young people we recruited have both discovered their own strengths and their confidence has grown; they are a huge asset to the service and their presence has changed the dynamics in the workplace.

“KSE also supported six people with learning disabilities to gain full-time employment with the Facilities Team.

Head of Facilities Rachel Gilhooly said: “I would encourage anyone to consider recruiting staff with learning disabilities. Not just as a diversity tick box, but because their work ethic is great; our recruits have a real desire to work and to do a good job while they are working.

”For each of these roles, KCHFT’s Resourcing Team worked with KSE to develop adapted job descriptions and person specifications. They have also adapted the standard recruitment process to make them more accessible for candidates with a learning disability and developed a guide for managers to help support them with this new approach. KSE also advise on the application process and for some posts has provided the candidate with job coaching.

Sharon Harris was helped into employment with KCHFT thanks to KSE. She works as a practice partner with the trust’s Learning Disabilities Service.

Sharon has a mild learning disability and her lived experience also helps when she is asked to sit on interview panels, create easy read materials and deliver presentations. 

Sharon has an important role to play in co-delivering learning disability awareness and champion training to all new employees who work across the 94 services that the trust has.  

She said: “I was so excited to find out I had the job and happy too. Everyone I work with is really nice and understanding. Mitch Mitchell from KSE was very helpful too.

“And Sharon’s advice to other people with a learning disability who are looking for employment? “Try using Kent Supported Employment. It will help you like it helped me, with the forms and at the interview. Be brave and go for it.

”Nicola Rutter, Head of Employee Relations at KCHFT, said: “We understand some of the traditional barriers that people with disabilities face when moving into work and we have been working with the KSE to remove these.

“We also recognize that we need to widen our talent pool and by employing more people with learning disabilities, we can improve the diversity of our workforce.”By removing barriers at the recruitment and selection processes we are on the right road to meeting the NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standards and, more importantly, establishing ourselves an employer of choice in Kent.

“For more information about Kent Supported Employment visit