We are delighted to have welcomed three new people to our staff team recently. Over the next few days we will hear from them all, starting today with Sam Williams, who has re-joined our team as Communications Officer for Engage to Change.

“I am so excited to be back at Learning Disability Wales working on the Engage to Change project. I have worked in lots of different communication and policy roles at Learning Disability Wales in the past and I am really looking forward to working on this important project that supports young people with a learning disability and/or autism aged 16 to 25 into paid work placements.

“Engage to Change is a Wales-wide project funded through the National Lottery Community Fund in partnership with Welsh Government. Learning Disability Wales is working in partnership with supported employment agencies ELITE (in South Wales) and Agoriad (in North Wales), self-advocacy organisation All Wales People First, and the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) at Cardiff University to deliver the Engage to Change project. We are also working in collaboration with the international internship programme DFN Project SEARCH.

“I am passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion. I believe that people with a learning disability have the right to have a voice and make choices in their lives, including having a paid job if they want to. There are many barriers that can make it difficult for people with a learning disability to find and keep paid employment but the Engage to Change project is working hard to change this. Having a paid job can have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing, not just financially but also emotionally. It can increase independence and self-esteem as well as reducing loneliness and isolation.

“As Communications Officer my role is to make sure that people know about Engage to Change’s work, for example the support available to young people, how employers can get involved, what families and carers think about the project and the findings of the research that is being carried out by Cardiff University as part of the project. I manage the Engage to Change website and social media channels as well as attending meetings and events to share information about the project.

“I am married with two children and outside work I enjoy reading, dancing and spending time in Spain with my family. I also love afternoon tea and I have a very large shoe collection!”