To celebrate Disability Employment Awareness Month, Sara Bradbury, Head of Employment Services at Enham Trust, shares her thoughts about disability, employment and why it's important.

If you asked me why I work, I would tell you it’s because I like the finer things in life; nice house, car, holidays (and to be honest being a stay at home Mum was never me). If you ask any of my colleagues who have a disability the answer would be very different. Rather than materialistic things, they will tell you it’s because they want to feel valued, have a sense of wellbeing and to do something meaningful with their time. Working at Enham Trust means I am fortunate enough to witness this every day, I am surrounded by employees of the charity many of whom have a disability and would quite simply be lost without their jobs. Working has the most positive impact on their lives, each of whom inspire me every day. The benefits don’t just stop with the individual; by employing disabled staff we are able to draw from the widest possible pool of talent, securing high quality staff who are skilled, loyal and extremely hard working.

The statistics

October is Disability Employment Awareness month. Nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition with a significant gap between the proportion of disabled people employed compared with non-disabled people; together we can change this. Enham Trust is a Disability Confident Leader, one of only 143 in the UK and the only leader in Hampshire. The aim of the Disability Confident Scheme is to support employers make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to your workplace. It is designed to help employers think differently about disability and improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

Challenging attitudes

We want to help employers challenge their attitudes towards disability. Having spoken with many employers recently, I have been astounded by the responses I get when asked why they don’t believe every role within their organisation could be filled by someone with a disability. People often forget that not every disability is visible; how many of our staff have a mental health condition that we are not recognising or supporting? How many of those individuals will go on to leave your organisation taking with them valuable knowledge and expertise? Employers need be looking to increase their understanding of disability and as a result look to remove barriers to disabled people ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations, whilst helping organisations achieve their corporate goals.

Employing disabled people does not need to be costly, most organisations can claim access to work funds to support in making reasonable adjustments for individuals. These funds can pay for suitable equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help do things like answer the phone, go to meetings or pay for transport to enable the individual to get to and from work.

Disability Confident

Enham Trust can help you and your organisation to become Disability Confident and support you on every step through the scheme. There are three levels of the scheme designed to support you on a journey towards being disability confident; Committed (level 1), Employer (level 2) and Leader (level 3). Our specialist advisors can support your business through each stage by reviewing your business practices, developing a comprehensive action plan, offering advice and support you on your disability confident journey. If you want to be inspired like me and see first-hand the impact it has on individuals, please get in touch for further information and to start your Disability Confident journey.

Start your journey

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