Learning disabilities: graduating into employment

HACKNEY residents with learning disabilities are celebrating their graduation from courses in skills which have helped them into employment.

At a special awards ceremony, Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, presented certificates to nine people who have achieved pre-entry level skills in ICT, literacy, numeracy, ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and communications.

The graduates with their friends and families gathered at the Vortex Jazz Club, in Gillett Square, Dalston, on 7 May, after studying for the past year through the Council’s Hackney Recruitment Partnership team.

Mayor Pipe said: “Hackney Council is committed to providing training opportunities for people with learning disabilities to access employment. The Hackney Recruitment Partnership is incredibly valuable not just because it helps people into work, but also supports them and their employers so that they can stay in work.”

Susan Hall, 54, and Lorine Chan, also 54, have been friends since they were at school together, and both graduated at the event from courses in literacy and ICT.

Susan lives in Stamford Hill and has a job at Superdrug, in Dalston, and is continuing her training in numeracy skills, which are relevant for her work.

Central Hackney resident Lorine works at the Sam and Annie Day Centre, in Upper Clapton, and is also continuing training. She said: “I worked very hard, and I’m proud of myself.”

The courses, provided through Hackney Recruitment Partnership and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute of Middlesex University, were the first in the country when they began two years ago to provide ESOL courses for people with learning disabilities.

For more information, please contact Hackney Recruitment Partnership on: 020 7241 5588, or e-mail:, or visit: