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Workforce development: perspectives from people with learning disabilities

Jill Davies (Bromley Adult Learning Disability Team, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, Sidcup, UK)
George Matuska (Clinical Lead – Intellectual Disability, South of England, Health Education England, Dover, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 6 November 2018

Issue publication date: 12 December 2018




Research into the skills and competencies required by staff working with people with learning disabilities has concentrated on staff views. The purpose of this paper is to explore what people with learning disabilities want from the workforce supporting them. The evaluation was commissioned by Health Education England working across Kent, Surrey and Sussex (HEE KSS).


An easy read questionnaire, co-produced with people with learning disabilities, was completed with 70 participants, 65 of whom attended one of 10 workshops. Two questionnaires were also completed by parents on behalf of their child. The workshops also allowed for open discussion.


People with learning disabilities value a workforce with a positive attitude, with staff who are skilled in supporting people to gain independence and have a voice.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are relevant to staff recruitment, matching of staff to services and staff training.


Although there is some previous research around service user views, this evaluation had a larger sample size. The findings were similar to previous studies, particularly around the kind of qualities required from staff, which were the ability to listen, have trust and be able to learn specific skills. Although the highest representation was from young people and young adults, participants ranged from 12 to over 65 years. Differences in views according to participant age ranges are also noted.



The consultation was funded by Health Education England working across Kent Surrey and Sussex, and conducted by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities. The authors are very grateful to the people with learning disabilities and the organisations who took part to Christine Burke at the Foundation and to Joanne Morrison for her assistance in writing the paper.


Davies, J. and Matuska, G. (2018), "Workforce development: perspectives from people with learning disabilities", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 165-172.



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