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Aurora Foxes and Hilton Unite to Break Barriers Facing People with Learning Disabilities

Aurora Foxes, a specialist training college in Minehead for students with learning difficulties, and Hilton are helping employers overcome the barriers to employing people with learning disabilities. Almost nine in 10 people with a learning disability in the UK have experienced difficulties finding a job and 80% of people with a learning disability stated a fear of being judged at interview stage, putting them off applying altogether according to the results of a survey commissioned by Hilton this year.

Aurora Foxes were invited to speak at the prestigious Hilton London Metropole hotel at the hospitality company’s Breaking Barriers event recently – a free  educational workshop for businesses. Principal Mark Costello and Independent Living and Employability Skills Tutor, Chris Jackson explored how decision-makers can create a more inclusive application process, with practical advice on how to instil confidence and support those with a learning disability to set them up for success.

Aurora Foxes showed a video of the positive effect that their students can bring to others by showcasing them working at a community kitchen in Williton.

Hilton also showcased several of its inspirational team members in a heartwarming video.

 Aurora Foxes top tips for potential employers are:

  • Always give clear and simple instructions and break down tasks to smaller sections
  • Remember to give more time for interview questions to be processed and answers to be given
  • Consider using alternative application formats such as a video CV
  • Think about providing flexibility with interview formats, for example doing a practical rather than just questions
  • Demonstrate practical tasks first
  • Consider tools such as Widget (which generates pictorial representations to help people who may struggle with the written word)
  • Provide unconscious bias training to employees (and especially recruiting managers)
  • Collaborate with support services such as WorkFit, and remember that parents can also be a valuable resource in teaching you how best to communicate
  • Value willingness to learn and a positive attitude – many skills can be taught on the job
  • Try and learn basic Makaton (sign language)
  • Consider if every candidate needs to answer the exact same questions – can you distil what you want down to
  • Give yourself room to make errors – there’s always help to get you back on track
  • Use buddies for new recruits - two or three is ideal – and you’ll probably find that the learning works both ways!

Mark Costello said: “It’s so important to have an inclusive application and interview process so that you don’t disadvantage people and miss out on creating a better workplace.” 

Julie Baker, Vice President Operations, Hilton said: "Our unwavering commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity within our workforce is exemplified by our long-term partnership with Aurora Foxes. Every day, we witness the tangible results of employing individuals with learning disabilities at Hilton, where their unique talents and skills are truly valued. We hope sharing our learning and successes will inspire others to do the same.”

For more information please visit The Aurora Foxes website.