What is Employment and Personal Development?

Mencap have been supporting people with a learning disability to find and keep jobs in Northern Ireland for 25 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.

Transition services

Mencap staff can support school leavers by working with them in groups, or through work experience placements. We work closely with schools to help young people to think about their career choices and further education needs. Mencap is funded to deliver transition services in some areas, including the Northern and Southern areas of Northern Ireland.


EmployAbility2 helps people with a learning disability across Northern Ireland to develop their work skills and confidence, to look for a job they enjoy, and to be more included in their local community.  The project also works closely with employers, families and others to ensure trainees are supported to achieve their goals. It is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Department for the Economy (DfE), as well as by Department for Communities (DfC), 5 Health & Social Care Trusts, and 2 further education colleges.

Workable NI

Mencap delivers Workable 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 that job and to become more independent in their work. 

Other ways we can support you

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

We can also support people with a learning disability who may not want to get a job.This is a very new type of service, called Lifestyle Support, which can help you to other activities in the community. 

This is available in certain areas where we are funded to do this.

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