Employment lead, Keith Bates, heads to Malaysia for 'Big Society' discussions around learning disabilities

Our employment lead at the Foundation Keith Bates is currently in Malaysia as part of a research team with Prof Dan Goodley of Sheffield University  and Dr Katherine Runswick Cole of Manchester Metropolitan University, researching the impact of the big society and austerity approaches on the lives of people with a learning disability. The trip was arranged as part of a knowledge exchange with the Universities and employment and advocacy organisations in Malaysia.

Keith and the team met the Director General of the Labour Department where  discussions were held on the current challenges to developing employment opportunities for people with a learning disability. Amongst other topics, our work on Self-Employment was discussed.

The team also met colleagues from the Department of Special Education to discuss recent changes to transition in the UK and the importance of conversations about employment with families and young people.

Teachers were especially interested in the work we are doing to raise employment aspirations with young people in schools.

The research team will be also be meeting the senior management team at Gamunda, one of Malaysia’s large employers,  to discuss their approach to employing disabled people and sharing the UK experience.

Other important aspects of the tour include a visit to United Voice, a leading advocacy organisation and social enterprise as well as a meeting Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan member of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities.