Love your job? Luke’s Connect 2 Work story

While many of us try to find a job we love, an overwhelming majority of people with a learning disability would love to have a chance of finding one.

That’s why this Valentine’s Day we’re focusing on Luke’s ‘love your job’ story and why employers could be missing out on an untapped pool of loyal, committed workers by overlooking passionate people who need just a few reasonable adjustments to settle in.

Statistics from NHS Digital tell us that in 2018, just 6.6 per cent of men with a learning disability in England were working and being paid for it. The figure is lower for women at only 5.2 per cent.

Meaning on average that 94 per cent of people with learning disabilities are not experiencing what it is like to join a team, be part of a community and feel valued in the workplace.

Luke is one of five Coventry residents with learning disabilities who are bucking this trend, having successfully found paid employment at local culture and leisure provider CV Life following a new partnership training programme.

All five were offered jobs after completing Coventry Adult Education Service’s successful Sector Work Academy Programme (SWAP) with CV Life – a scheme for learners with learning disabilities, in partnership with Coventry City Council’s Employment and Skills Service, Adult Social Care, CV Life and us at Grapevine.

Learners were referred through Coventry Job Shop’s Connect 2 programme, a European Social Fund (ESF) programme designed to support Job Shop customers with additional needs and barriers.

The six-week course comprises of two days a week on work placement with CV Life and two days of classroom learning at CV Life’s The Wave leisure centre.

Following Luke’s successful placement, Kitty helped ensure a smooth transition into his duties and clear, open channels of communication with his new manager, Richard Parke, centre manager at the Alan Higgs Centre. Richard has been fantastic in supporting Luke and helping him to settle into the team.

Please watch and share their story so we can make this the norm!

A woman and man wearing warm clothes stand together smiling outside the Alan Higgs leisure centre in Coventry. The building is behind them and the sign can be seen.
Kitty from Grapevine’s Connect 2 Work project with Luke outside his place of work

Connect 2 Work is part of our Strengthening People action strand at Grapevine.

We can help

Please get in touch if you have a learning disability, live in Coventry and are looking for opportunities for volunteering, work experience or paid work.

Email Connect 2 Work connector Kitty at or call the office on 024 7663 1040.