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Disabled people, work and welfareIs employment really the answer?$
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Chris Grover and Linda Piggott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447318323

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447318323.001.0001

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Thinking differently about ‘work’ and social inclusion for disabled people

Thinking differently about ‘work’ and social inclusion for disabled people

(p.219) Twelve Thinking differently about ‘work’ and social inclusion for disabled people
Disabled people, work and welfare

Edward Hall

Robert Wilton

Policy Press

Paid employment is the primary marker of social inclusion. Welfare reform is encouraging disabled people to move from reliance on welfare to income from employment. For those with qualifications and skills new opportunities are emerging. For many, however, gaining access to and staying in employment is challenging. The proportion of disabled people in mainstream employment has plateaued at a level far below that for non-disabled people. The chapter examines two alternatives to paid employment for disabled people, which can offer the benefits of work without many of the difficulties of mainstream workplaces. First, social enterprises offer flexible and accommodating conditions of employment that recognise the complex challenges of impairment. Second, volunteering and creative arts can provide many of the personal and social benefits of paid employment and, through contributing something of social value, challenge dominant assumptions about the place of disabled people in society. Alternative forms of ‘work’, whilst not addressing the financial challenges faced by many, do offer possibilities of being valued and feeling included. The chapter draws on data and research evidence from Britain and Canada.

Keywords:   Britain, Canada, creative arts, disabled people, employment, social enterprises, social inclusion, volunteering, work

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