Power in Partnership

June 21, 2018 Blog - CEO Theresa Shearer, ENABLE Scotland CEO

When it comes to standing up for the rights of people who have a learning disability and fighting inequalities in society, working together is the best way to get things done. History tells us that we can achieve more together than as individuals – as CEO of an organisation set up in 1954 by five groups of parents who wanted to challenge society’s expectations for their children who had learning disabilities, I am reminded of that every single day.

Bringing together experience, expertise, resources – but most importantly values and passion for the shared cause – is what makes partnership working effective. The shared values is what gives us trust, another essential element of successful partnership working.

Sense Scotland – A New Partnership – We’re working with Sense Scotland to further boost the quality of care and help for more disabled people; Read More…

Back in March 2018, we announced details of a significant new partnership with Sense Scotland, designed to ensure that together, we can work to divert as many resources as possible to improving the quality of service and support we offer to people who have a range of disabilities and additional support needs across both organisations.

Great quality of life and great quality of support are the shared values driving that partnership, and I was pleased to see our friends at Sense Scotland today awarded a Recognised for Excellence 5 star award. Constantly striving for the best for our staff and the people we support are just some of the shared values that brought our partnership together.

As we develop that partnership, we are also resolutely committed at ENABLE Scotland to continuing our work, day in day out, to aim high for people who have a learning disability in Scotland. This is what we always have done, and this is what we always will do.

I was a proud CEO earlier today therefore to join the learners and mentors from another partnership we have nurtured and led this year – our innovative Breaking Barriers programme.

Breaking Barriers

Designed to tackle the shockingly low number of young people with a learning disability who access higher education (less than 4%) this partnership brings together the University of Strathclyde Business School, Scottish Power and ENABLE Scotland to collaborate to create the environment to make this possible.

For the first time ever in the UK, and only the second time in Europe, this innovative partnership is enabling 8 young learners to not only access university, but to be part of a world class business community – learning business skills with the best at Strathclyde University, and then applying these skills in a corporate workplace with Scottish Power, supported by our specialist teams from ENABLE Scotland, who are with the learners every step of the way.

Partners for Good

And I am particularly proud that this partnership maintains the special bond ENABLE Scotland and the University of Strathclyde enjoy thanks to our shared heritage in Professor Samuel Curran.

As I have written about before, Sam Curran was the first ever Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde in 1964 – having been one of the founding families of ENABLE Scotland in 1954. Sam and his wife were determined to break barriers to an equal society for people who have a learning disability like their own daughter, Sheena, and they reached out to other families to do the same.

I feel sure that he would have been proud today, as we were invited into Scottish Power’s HQ in Glasgow City Centre to celebrate the end of the work placement element of the programme. I know that I was so proud of the learners, and of the commitment shown by each of the partners to really make this partnership deliver.

Already, two of the young people have secured employment, and I cannot wait to see everyone again at the Graduation ceremony in November, where our learners will graduate from the programme alongside other graduates from the Business School – another first.

I speak on behalf of all of the partners when I say that we will make sure that they won’t be the last. As ENABLE Scotland prepares to enter our 65th year in 2019, I am proud that we continue to build connections and influence society to break barriers for people who have a learning disability. Partnership matters, and it works – we cannot achieve that aim alone.

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