Employers are being urged to give jobseekers a trial over several weeks rather than rely on face-to-face interviews in a bid to tackle the "scandalously low" employment rates among people with learning disabilities.

Remploy, which provides specialist employment services for people with disabilities and health conditions, said that while around half of disabled people have a job, just seven per cent of people with learning disabilities are in employment.

The company is campaigning to raise the rate to 10 per cent over the next five years.

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Remploy said employers should adopt "working interviews" where jobseekers are given a trial over several weeks to establish their suitability.

The campaign is being led by Tony Collins, Remploy's learning disabilities spokesman, who has first-hand knowledge of how some people with a learning disability can be treated.

After leaving college Tony went to work in a sports centre where he was paid in tokens used to open changing room lockers and later he worked for two years in a clothes shop where he was paid in coat hangers.

Beth Carruthers, Remploy's chief executive, said: "We need to persuade employers that for people with learning disabilities the traditional face to face interview is not the best way of understanding their skills."