Epilepsy affects around 600,000 people in the UK. This means that almost 1 in 100 people in the UK have epilepsy.
Research shows that people with epilepsy face significant social stigma and are more than twice as likely as those without the condition to be unemployed. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the reasons for this. There is also a lack of understanding about ways in which people with epilepsy can be helped into employment.
It is very important for Epilepsy Action to have a better understanding of these issues. This will help us in our goals of:
- Improving the quality and availability of employment services for people with epilepsy
- Improving awareness and understanding of epilepsy through:
- Examining employers' preconceptions and knowledge about epilepsy
- Identifying and publicising examples of good practice in the employment of people with epilepsy.
Epilepsy Action is funding a team at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) to carry out the following work:
Qualitative research to identify what good employment support for people with epilepsy should look like
IES is an independent, apolitical, international centre of research and consultancy in public employment policy and HR management. It works closely with employers in all sectors, government departments, agencies, professional bodies and associations. IES is a focus of knowledge and practical experience in employment and training policy, the operation of labour markets, and HR planning and development. IES is a not-for-profit organisation.
Their approach is centred on qualitative fieldwork informed by strategically-focused desk research. The fieldwork methodology will consist of:
- Focus groups with people with epilepsy
- Telephone interviews with employers
- Telephone interviews with other expert stakeholders
The fieldwork will be supported by a desk review of relevant literature.
The project team
Institute for Employment Studies team
- Sally Wilson, Senior Research Fellow
- Ruth Francis, Research Fellow
- Morwenna Byford, Research Officer
Epilepsy Action team
- Angie Pullen, Epilepsy Services Manager
- Amanda Stoneman, Research and Evaluation Officer
- Helen Murray-Sharpe, Local Services Manager
- Sue Mitchell, Communications Manager
- Anastasia Berry, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer
- Stephanie Kilinc, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Teesside University
- Rachel Shopland, Epilepsy Action Research Volunteer