The UK has a 30.4% gap between non-disabled and disabled people in employment. With only 50.7% disabled people employed, there’s an indication that there are many challenges for disabled people in regards to finding work as workplaces may not cater to the needs of disabled employees.
With 13.9 million people being disabled in the UK it suggests that there should be far more awareness made to help businesses understand the benefits in hiring an individual with a disability.
In 2014, Leonard Cheshire, a voluntary service provider for disabled people, set up a programme called Change 100. Since then, it has allowed people with specific needs to enter the workplace more comfortably. This unique internship offer three months of paid work experience for students and graduates, giving them the foundations and potentially a foot in the door to a highly regarded profession. Change 100 is doing its utmost to tackle disability inequality in big businesses, and the programme has proved to be a success after they were the winners of the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative Awards for two consecutive years.
This shows it has been hugely beneficial to thousands of students that may have otherwise struggled to find suitable work after their degree. With big-name businesses including the BBC, BMW and Taylor Wimpey already supporting the programme, it is hoped that many more will follow, so that career opportunities for disabled students are further maximised after school or university.
A similar organisation is EmployAbility, a non-profit organisation dedicated to assisting students and graduates with all disabilities, including dyslexia or long term health conditions, into employment. Examples of possible graduate opportunities include KPMG, Goldman Sachs, the Civil Service and Google. One successful intern said “I saw the disability as a hindrance and that’s the opinion I thought any employer would have. However, throughout the internship I learnt I am more than capable of excelling in a working environment.”
In 2010, EmployAbility were winners of “Best Graduate Recruitment Partner” at the National Graduate Recruitment Awards
Both programmes are uniquely tailored to suit disabled students, and they are a successful start in not only offering incredible work experiences, but also raising awareness for a community of people who deserve a chance to showcase their talent in the business world.
Applications are open for Change 100 internships until 16th January 2019 and more information can be found on their website.