Alex Margolies | CEO Toucan Employment
Toucan Employment is the UK’s longest-running supported employment charity for people with learning difficulties and disabilities; we aim to reduce the social exclusion of people with learning difficulties and disabilities in the London boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Brent, by aiding them to find and retain employment.
Our service is tailored to meet both the needs of the job-seeker and the employer by offering full support during the whole of the recruitment process; we work with employers to set up/find jobs that are suited to our clients’ abilities and interests and offer on-the-job support and job coaching to meet the needs of our clients and their employers, as required.
In the last 10 years we have supported well over 550 people with learning difficulties and disabilities into paid employment
Since Toucan Employment was established in 1989 we have worked with hundreds of individuals and employers to promote the inclusion of disability in the workplace. In the last 10 years we have supported well over 550 people with learning difficulties and disabilities into paid employment with employers including all the major supermarkets, London hotels and museums, the Houses of Parliament, and many more smaller employers.
Toucan Employment works with some of most marginalised people in the job market - people who would often otherwise just be left in the mire of day centres, where there is a self-perpetuating circle of disinterest and meaningless activities.
I wish Toucan Employment didn’t exist…
Strange you say, to want to be doing myself out of a job. However, I wish there wasn’t the need for Toucan Employment. I wish that more organisations wanted their workforce to reflect their communities more effectively. Despite all the work that has been achieved for women, BAME people, etc, disability rates of employment are still very low, and learning disability employment rates are even lower.
Less than 7% of the learning disabilities population is in employment, but more than 60% want employment.
I wish that nearer to that 60% or more were in employment, and that this was the standard, and that supported employment charities weren’t needed to make this happen.
What can you do to help?
- Volunteer. Toucan is always on the lookout for expert help, whether it is marketing, IT, or admin expertise.
- Donate. With your help we can reach, and help, more people with learning disabilities to enter, and sustain employment. Donations can be made through “Just Giving”, “Local Giving”, and through our website.
- Fundraise. There are many ways in which you can support Toucan – through cake sales, marathons, and gigs.
- Exercise your spending power. If there is an organisation/shop employing people with learning disabilities up against one that doesn’t, use the power of your money to support the more pro-active and community-minded one.
- Contact your MP. Ask them to support campaigns and activities promoting supported employment.