NCMH to play key role in £10m learning disability project

The National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) will play a key role in a £10m project to help young people in Wales with learning disability and autism into employment.

NCMH is among a consortium of organisations led by Learning Disability Wales to deliver the Engage to Change project, joining supported employment agencies Agoriad and ELITE, international internship programme Project SEARCH and learning disability advocacy organisation All-Wales People First.

The five-year Engage to Change project will work with 800 employers across Wales to help 1000 young people with learning disability or autism to develop their employment skills through paid work placements lasting between 6-12 months.

The project will be funded by The Big Lottery Fund’s Getting Ahead 2 grant – the largest ever awarded by the organisation in Wales. The grant was developed in partnership with Welsh Government to meet priorities for supporting children and young people. It will be funded by money that has been dormant in bank and building society accounts across the UK for 15 years or more.

NCMH researchers based at Cardiff University will evaluate the project, and work to influence future policy based on their findings.

Engage to Change offers a unique opportunity for us to make a positive, practical difference to the employment prospects for young people with learning disability and autism in Wales, while using evidence of what works to have an impact on policy in this area in the future.” said Dr Stephen Beyer, who will be leading the evaluation exercise.

Welcoming the centre’s role in the project NCMH Director Professor Ian Jones said “We’re very excited to be involved in this programme of work, which has the potential to be life changing for those involved. Helping young people with learning disability and autism to establish themselves in the world of work will benefit not just the individuals themselves, but also their families, the wider community and the economy of Wales.”

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National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
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