Keith Bates, Head of Employment at http://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/our-work/employment-education/in-business/in-business-project supports the idea of mixed employment solutions: holding a part time job in a company whilst building a micro-business. This solution can provide a good mix of quality experiences for people with disabilities.
In 2010, we carried out a research project demonstrating an authentic partnership between a business and a service provider to disabled people. To provide an answer to the business problem, training was offered to a group of disabled people for a win-win solution. The results are presented in this video including the perspective of the business, the service provider and the disabled employees.
Often though, these jobs are part time - leaving the potential for a person to up-skill and create a micro-entreprise and learn the associated business skills that come with the experience.
The issue then becomes training disabled people and their support staff. It seems that the problem faced is the same world-wide: support workers in the disability sector have had to operate a major transformation in the changing funding environment. For some this has been a difficult transition and acquiring business skills as part of their support package is challenging. Hence, devising training programmes in (micro-)business concepts is a necessary step. At the Fast Track inclusion Trust, we have started collating sets of resources (under the Self-Employment Tab on this blog) and of course much more work is needed!
So far, experience has taught us that it is really important to find for each micro-business an external mentor who can help with the sales/distribution side of the business. So for instance, a dog treats micro-business has made a business connection with his local supermarket to ensure (small but) continuing demand.
To be continued!