Wokingham Borough Council and Optalis are proud to announce that Wokingham has ranked number one in the southeast and number two in the country on the Adult Social Cares Outcomes Framework under measure ‘1E: the proportion of adults with learning disability in paid employment’ for 2020-21.
These proud achievements are particularly significant given the impact on the employment sector due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Nationally, there has been a decline in the number of people in paid employment over the past several years, dropping from 5.9% to 5.1%.
David Birch, Chief Executive of Optalis said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Wokingham sitting firmly at the top of the list of South-East local authorities, despite all of the obstacles that Covid has placed in our way over the last year. The team has worked incredibly hard to keep the service safe for our residents to use – families have needed some reassurance, but we have successfully kept every customer safe throughout the pandemic.”
Exceeds national average
The number of people in Wokingham Borough with a learning disability in paid employment is scored at a phenomenal 19.3% - more than three times the national average. The Supported Employment Service, provided by Optalis, has kept Wokingham Borough in first place in the southeast since 2019.
Executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, Cllr Charles Margetts said: “I am delighted that Wokingham Borough has retained its top spot in the southeast and has climbed to second place in the country. We are proud to work with Optalis to deliver efficient, effective and joined up services which focus on our residents, providing them with supported employment opportunities to our residents.
“We want Wokingham Borough to be a great place to live, learn, work and grow for everyone, including future residents. I am encouraged by these figures and confident that the borough will rank first place in 2022 for adults with learning disabilities in paid employment.”
Donna Morgans, Head of Supported Employment Services said: "I am so proud of the team, they constantly bring forward new ideas and build successful partnerships, with the team working with over 90 local employers. It has been brilliant to see these efforts result in us rising from third to second place nationally. Every team member works extremely hard to achieve these outcomes for the people we work with. Their firmly held belief is that everyone can achieve their career aspirations if they are provided with the right support and are matched to the right job shines through with these results."
Optalis provides a range of support and care services for older people, adults with a disability and people with mental health needs both in the community and at home, on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Optalis has coached and trained more 100 people, with 64.8% securing paid employment through the supported employment scheme. Through the scheme, residents have found employment at Legoland, South Hill Park, Marks and Spencer and Jemca.
More from Wokingham Borough Council
o Staying warm and well this winter
o Post-covid boost in pipeline for bus services
o SURVEY: Tackling financial hardship in the borough
Stay connected to the communities around you. Enjoy the latest on the Covid-19 pandemic, general news, updates and highlights straight in your inbox. Subscribe to our Wokingham Borough Connect newsletters now.