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Changing the conversation on disability

26 Jun 2017

Mike Adams OBE, CEO of Purple, is on a mission to help business find valuable talent among the UK’s 11.5 million disabled people – and to assist them in accessing the £212bn ‘purple pound’ they hold as consumers.

The IoD is partnering with Purple to encourage 1 member a day to sign up to being #DisabilityConfident.

Disability Confident is the name of the government’s initiative that offers guidance and awards companies with an accreditation for recruiting and retaining disabled people. Launched by the Department of Work and Pensions at a major event attended by then prime minister David Cameron in July 2013, the scheme offers three stages of accreditation which a business can then publicise as part of its credentials as an employer.

Research has found that one in five business leaders would be worried about interviewing someone with a disability for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.

The scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. It is voluntary and has been developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives.

Disability Confident organisations play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better. By employing disabled people and people with health conditions they’re changing behaviour and cultures in their own businesses, networks and communities.

At present, 79 per cent of disabled people in the UK do not have a job. Yet, more and more businesses are signing up to Disability Confident every week. The scheme helps them think differently about disability, and improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

The scheme has 3 levels that have been designed to support you on your Disability Confident journey. Employers must complete each level before moving on to the next.

The scheme helps employers:

  • Draw from the widest possible pool of talent
  • Secure high quality staff who are skilled, loyal and hard working
  • Improve employee morale and commitment by demonstrating that you treat all employees fairly
  • It also helps customers and other businesses identify those employers who are committed to equality in the workplace

The IoD's target is to have been tangibly involved in getting 30 more disabled people into work with IoD members’ firms over the month of September.

On what IoD members can do right now, Adams says: “If you have a job vacancy, you could promote it on Purple’s new online recruitment agency where we will look to match disabled people to the skills required for the role, and then provide ongoing support to both the employer and the disabled person.”

If you you’re interested in becoming a #DisabilityConfident employer then please email: seamus.nevin@iod.com

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