Government sets target to halve Disability Employment gap

disabled sign30 employers have pledged their support for the government’s Disability Confident campaign, with the aim of halving the Disability Employment gap of 33.5%.

Today marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IPDP).

An event was recently held to enable local employers, rather than jobseekers, to discuss their specific recruitment needs. The goal of the ‘Reverse Jobs Fair’ was to meet the demands of employers and create lasting employment opportunities for disabled people.

The event was co-hosted by employment, learning and skills charity Shaw Trust and social enterprise Pluss with the Minister for Disabled People.

The government’s Disability Confident campaign was launched in July 2013 by the Prime Minister at the national Disability Employment Conference. Since then 350,000 more disabled people have found employment through the campaign.

According to a recent report from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) the disability employment rate of people of working age in the UK is currently 45.9%. This is compared to the non-disabled employment rate of 79.4%. The Disability Employment gap is therefore 33.5%.

In July the government set a target to halve the gap, and to get a million more disabled people into work.

As a result of the ‘Reverse Jobs Fair’ pledges have been made by several employers including Nationwide Building Society to increase the number of disabled candidates applying for their job roles, and maximising accessibility and inclusiveness at offices, in addition to McDonalds offering work placements for disabled people in a new restaurant branch and MLL Print ensuring that their next employee is recruited through a disability employment organisation.

Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, said: “This was the first ever Reverse Jobs Fair and the turnout was fantastic. 70 employers turned up to hear the value disabled people can play in growing their business.

“I want to see events like this up and down the country. We will follow up on all the pledges to ensure that real, tangible job opportunities are created for disabled jobseekers.

Disabled people have the talent; it’s about giving them the chance to show it.”

Martin Kelly, disability services consultant, said: “The Disability Confident ‘Reverse Jobs Fair’ has been very informative, very useful. It is a really good start to developing formative relationships between organisations who work with disabled people, employers and employees.”

“I’m now much more confident in the Disability Confident concept and believe if we build from what we’ve been able to do with this event we can start to make inroads into that employment gap where disabled people are less likely to be employed than non-disabled people.”

Simon Billington, from social enterprise Seqol, said: “We’ve been able to extend our reach to businesses we wouldn’t have usually been able to. This event far exceeded our expectations.”

Andrew Hargreaves, Group Manager, Service Delivery (Response) at Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: “I found the event extremely helpful and it provided me with a wealth of information about a good number of organisations. I was able to speak directly to key people about how they can assist Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service in its efforts to be a supportive employer of people with widely differing needs.

“I brought away some key contacts that enable our service to be far more proactive in its engagement with our diverse community.”

bbcBBC event

The BBC will be holding an event at MediaCityUK, Salford called BBC People with Disabilities in Tech Event. Due to take place on 17 December the free event will offer a behind the scenes look at the various applications of technology at BBC Digital and BBC Engineering.

The event is aimed at those with tech skills, qualifications or experience and whom have a disability.

It is open to people with disabilities with tech skills and experience (or recent graduates with a relevant degree, for example Computer Science).

The BBC are currently recruiting for technical roles in London and Salford and hiring managers will be present at the event.

During the event there will be:

  • Quick-fire presentations about the work of our different teams
  • The chance to spend time in the Blue Room (a media demo lab which showcases the tech shaping the future of digital media)
  • Time to visit a Digital exhibition area (where you’ll be able to watch some demos and ‘have-a-go’)
  • The chance to meet BBC colleagues and some of our recruiters during networking drinks and nibbles

You can find out more information and how to sign up for the event here.

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