How employers can make it fairer for the 14.6million people in Britain with disabilities

WHAT is your firm doing to help the UK’s largest minority group?

Statistics show that 14.6million people in the UK live with a disability.

One in five working adults are disabledCredit: Getty

Around one in five working adults are disabled, but they face a whole range of barriers including workplace accessibility, lack of work flexibility plus discrimination when applying for jobs.

The Office for National Statistics figures found just 53 per cent of people with a disability are employed, compared to 81 per cent of non-disabled people.

And there is a pay gap with wages for a disabled worker averaging 14 per cent less.

But including these people in the labour market would boost the national economy by £50billion a year.

Tomorrow is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a UN-backed initiative to break down barriers and up employment rates.

It’s also the UK’s annual Purple Sock Day, created to raise funds and awareness of disabled entrepreneurs.

So how can we best support people in this position?

We sought the view of two experts.

Supporting disabled workers

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP.

TOM said: “This year we reached the milestone of 1.3million more disabled people in work since 2017.

“It is fantastic to see more employers embracing diverse and inclusive workforces.”

Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and WorkCredit: Houses of Parliament

Here are four steps that can help get disabled people into work:

  1. The Access to Work scheme provides grants of up to £65,000 for equipment or services that might help you do the job you want. See gov.uk/access-to-work.
  2. Use your Jobcentre. Work coaches at Jobcentres are there to support you, whether you need to learn new skills, write a CV, arrange work experience or succeed at an interview.
  3. Search for Disability Confident employers on the Find A Job website at findajob.dwp.gov.uk. There are almost 33,000 roles with firms committed to building a diverse workforce – it might include a guaranteed interview for people with disabilities.
  4. Network. If you’re already in a job and looking for something new, you can widen your network by joining the disabled employees’ networking site PurpleSpace.org.

Supporting disabled entrepreneurs

Josh Wintersgill, founder of Ablemove.co.uk

CAMPAIGN group Purple Tuesday found the spending power of disabled people and their families is worth £274billion and is rising by 14 per cent per year.

Now a new generation of disabled entrepreneurs is leading the field to create specialist products.

Josh Wintersgill, founder of Ablemove.co.ukCredit: Supplied

Josh has spinal muscular atrophy and has been in a wheelchair since he was ten.

The 29-year-old businessman won Young Entrepreneur of the Year with his business designing seats for accessible air travel.

Here he gives his advice for disabled people looking to start a business.

Apply for grants, courses and awards: Disabled entrepreneurs can apply to the The Stelios Awards for Disabled Entrepreneurs, run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire, which gives away £60,000 every year.

Also Hatch Enterprise’s Launchpad programme equips disabled people with the skills and confidence to launch their own business.

See hatchenterprise.org.

Harness your mindset: Stephen Hawking once said: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” and this is something disabled entrepreneurs live and breathe throughout life.

Use it to your advantage.

Work it your way: Running your own business gives you the flexibility to manage your working schedule around disability.

Some days I have more energy and productivity than others.

I can go at the pace I want and need to go, knowing I don’t have the worry of my manager wondering if I am being productive enough.

Support Purple Sock Day: Half the profits go towards a programme of support for disabled people who want to start up a business.

You can find out more about the isssue at parallellifestyle.com/purple-sock-day.


THE DISABLED WORKERS CO-OPERATIVE has dozens of jobs on offer from inclusive employers.

Find details at disabledworkers.org.uk.

Help us up the ladder

AS A double Paralympic swimming medal winner, Amy Marren found her abilities celebrated.

But after entering the world of work, Amy, 24, realised firms needed more help to support disabled staff.

Paralympic medal winner Amy Marren helps disabled people climb the career ladderCredit: SUPPLIED

Now a solicitor apprentice, Amy advises the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education on helping disabled people climb the career ladder.

Here are her top tips for firms:

  •  Showcase the disabled talent you already have in the business. As a young apprentice it would have been a comfort to see someone with my disability having a successful career.
  •  Widen your understanding of disability. There is a huge spectrum of disabilities and educating all staff is important.
  • Show people they belong in your business. Ensure the appropriate adjustments are already in place for those who may need them, ensuring they feel comfortable.
  • Ensure job ads are accessible to welcome more disabled applicants. Where possible, businesses should look to make websites, materials and other recruit-ment tools easy to access for disabled people.
  • Look beyond the disability. Businesses and staff should adopt a positive attitude. Firms should see the person rather than the disability and encourage staff to comfortably discuss disabled colleagues’ needs.


NON-PROFIT organisations supporting STEM learning can land a grant of up to £20k from the Millennium Point Charitable Trust’s Small Grants Programme.

Apply by 5pm today at millenniumpoint.org.uk/trust/grants/apply/

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button