THE number of people with learning disabilities in gainful employment has fallen in the Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead areas, research shows.
According to data from PHE, in Windsor and Maidenhead, 17.4% of people with learning disabilities are also in paid employment.
Slough has seen a slight decrease from 1.6% of the population in 2018/19 to 1.5% in 2019/20.
And the statistics dropped by 6.9% of people with learning disabilities in employment in 2014/15.
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In Windsor and Maidenhead, there has also been a drop in the employment rate for people with learning disabilities.
Compared to 20.9% in 2014/15, statistics show the rate fell to 17.4% in 2019/20.
Parts of the south east have fallen by 87% in some areas during the pandemic, according to the latest PHE data.
However, other areas of Berkshire have seen a steady increase since 2015, including Wokingham.
The city has 20% of people with learning disabilities in gainful employment in 2019/20, with just 7% recorded in the southeast.
The data, collated from PHE by learning disability nurse recruitment specialists MCG Healthcare, highlights areas where people with a learning disability need more help.
The figures have prompted experts to call on employers and authorities to examine the accessibility of online recruitment processes, working from home and mental health support.
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Ash Higgs, Director of MCG Healthcare, said: “Even though the market seems to be improving now, the pandemic has obviously left many people unemployed.
“However, for people with learning disabilities, losing a job or being unable to find one can seriously undermine confidence and rob individuals of opportunities to make personal progress.
Mr Higgs added that it was about much more than money.
“Our nurses see, firsthand, how fulfilled some people with learning disabilities are by their work,” he said.
“We aim to give people as much independence as possible, and work plays a huge part in that, giving people a sense of control and achievement.”