What is the Mencap NI Employment and Personal Development Service?

Mencap have been supporting people with a learning disability to find and keep jobs in Northern Ireland for over 30 years.

We can help you to think about what types of work you might like to do and then set up a work placement for you to learn how to do this job. We will work with you to create a plan that says what you want to achieve, how long this will take and what support you will need.  

We will give you as much support as you need during your placement and will work very closely with the employer providing the placement and with your family and support network. We will call out to see you and the employer frequently throughout your placement, helping you to sort out any issues or problems along the way.

We will also set up a number of reviews for you throughout the year, to make sure you are on track to achieve your goals, and to make any changes to your plan if needed.   

Matthew at Musgrave Park Hospital

Matthew was supported by Mencap NI into his job in Patient Client Support Services at Musgrave Park Hospital, at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Matthew said: “Having a disability makes you lose confidence. You can feel alone. But work makes you more confident, you can be included, not excluded in society. I’m very grateful to Mencap for their support and the opportunity to better myself, I know there are better things to come”.

How can we support you? 

Mencap’s employment and personal development services support people with a learning disability in different ways.

The best programme for you could depend on different things such as your age, where you live, or how ready you are to get a job. The main programmes you could take part in are set out below.


SkillSET is a disability employment programme providing support to adults with a range of disabilities. It is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

SkillSET Mencap is a specialist employment support project which is person centred and innovative. We deliver employment preparation and training to individuals with a learning disability, dual/multiple disability including autism /mental health who are economically inactive and want to enter paid sustainable employment. Each individual on SkillSET Mencap will have a designated Employment Officer who will support them to develop their skills and build experience to achieve paid work - your support will be tailored to you. SkillSET Mencap is being delivered NI wide with local offices located in Belfast, Newry, Omagh, Derry/ Londonderry and Magherafelt.

Learning Disability Awareness Training

Mencap Learning Disability Awareness Training sessions are delivered by Mencap Disability Equality Officers Joanne McDonald & Paul McGowan who have first-hand experience of living with a learning disability.

The aim of the training session is to provide participants with a greater awareness and understanding of learning disability.


  • Provide an overview of what a learning disability is and identify what can cause a learning disability.
  • Identify the barriers that people with a learning disability can experience
  • Understand common misconceptions and stigma associated with a learning disability
  • Understand how to communicate effectively with people who have a learning disability
  • Identify types of support and reasonable adjustments for people with a learning disability in the workplace.

Training is available for employers, organisations, groups, schools or any individual who wants to increase their knowledge and understanding of learning disability.

It is recommended that a maximum of 20 participants attend a training session to allow for greater interaction between participants and Disability Equality Officers.

The interactive training session typically lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours depending on the number of participants present. Session lengths can be adjusted to accommodate participant requirements. 

For more information or to book a session


Workable NI

Mencap delivers the Workable NI Programme across Northern Ireland, through the Supported Employment Solutions (SES) partnership. We support people with a learning disability to keep a paid job for 10 hours or more per week, to do the best they can in their job and to become more independent in their workplace.

North West Regional College (NWRC) Partnership

Mencap NI’s Employment and Personal Development Team work with the North West Regional College (NWRC) to facilitate work-experience placements to Transition course students.  Each student is provided tailored support to access placement/employment opportunities within their community .

Other ways we can support you

We help employers to better understand learning disability, so they can give you the support you need in the workplace and make sure you are included with the other people who work there.

Mencap can deliver Learning Disability Awareness training to employers, which is delivered by Mencap Disability Equality Officers, who have first-hand experience of living with a learning disability.



We have created two leaflets to support people with a learning disability get into work. One prepares people for work, and the other provides guidance for employers.


Trainee leaflet Employer leaflet
A waiter with downs syndrome serving three people at at table in a cafe, with coffee

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