Meet our Director of ENABLE Works

Ashley Ryan– Director of ENABLE Works

Ashley Ryan is the Director of ENABLE Works – one of the three pillars of the ENABLE Group. Leading one of the largest and most successful employment support teams in Scotland, Ashley is responsible for an income of £8million, 125 employees and her team supports more than 4,500 people who have learning disabilities or barriers to work to develop their employment skills.

Ashley joined ENABLE more than a decade ago and has worked in a variety of roles before her appointment as the Director of ENABLE Works in 2021.

An innovative leader, Ashley heads up a dynamic and thriving department, with a reputation for excellence and a proven track record of success in pioneering innovative and inclusive programmes which support our clients to achieve well paid, sustainable careers.

ENABLE Works drives forward many ground-breaking programmes, one of which is Breaking Barriers, in partnership with Strathclyde Business School, ScottishPower and STV. This programme opens higher education and major corporate workplaces opportunities to young people who have a learning disability. In 2020/21, 18 young people with a learning disability graduated with a diploma in business education from the University of Strathclyde through Breaking Barriers. Such is the success of the programme that it is expanding to Edinburgh Napier University in 2022.

One of the many projects she leads is the award-winning ‘Stepping Up’ programme, which, to date, has been delivered in 75 schools across the country, achieving a 98% positive destination rate for learners with learning disabilities.

Crucial to the success of ENABLE Works is the ongoing support the team provides to employees and employers to boost job retention with more than 560 paid roles secured in 2022/21. The team directly supports employers to adjust workplaces in practice while providing mentoring to employees with disabilities.

As Director, Ashley drives an ambitious development programme for ENABLE Works to build new and existing services to support people to gain and retain employment, growing revenue incomes and diversifying the portfolio of the pillar.

Ashley was appointed to the Board of The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) to promote and develop a confident and sustainable voluntary sector in Scotland following in the footsteps of ENABLE Group CEO Theresa Shearer, who served on the Board of Trustees at SCVO for six years.

Furthering her commitment to the sector, Ashley sits on the board of the Third Sector Employability Forum Executive Group representing the voluntary sector in an advisory capacity to inform Scottish policy and procurement in relation to the employability and skills sector.

A passionate advocate for equality and social justice, Ashley is also a non-executive Director and Chair of Paws for Progress, an organisation which supports young people in custody to work with rescue dogs to help them to build better lives.

Awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship in Education from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, in 2022 Ashley will embark on an exciting international practice sharing research project, exploring successful approaches to inclusive education in USA.


Working with Ashley leading portfolios within the ENABLE Works directorate are:

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