Living with a disability or a long-term health condition is challenging. Obstacles caused by this can feel overwhelming in the work environment and can prevent a person from thriving. This is why it’s important to know which employers could be more supportive and how to find the relevant job adverts. In this post, Ian Scrase, a Careers Project Officer at the University of Warwick, offers valuable insight and tips… By Ian Scrase
As students much time is dedicated to developing our disciplinary knowledge and whilst some of us continue on in education or academia many of us move on into the world of work practically applying our disciplinary knowledge and or the wider skills that we have learned through the University experience. As students or graduates with a disability or long term health conditions, the search for a job or internship can take on an extra dimension – “which employers will be supportive to enable me to work my best for them”.
Firstly, all employers here in the UK have a legal obligation not to discriminate on these grounds as set out in the Equality Act 2010, and the Government provides an Access to work Scheme which can provide funding support to engage in work activities and the interviews to access these.
However, a legal obligation is not the same as a positive and supportive organisational culture, So how do you start to look for these organisations that are more likely to offer this?
Some employers sign up to schemes or awards that can be displayed on their job adverts or Organisation pages, to show that they have a positive approach to employment practices for people from various demographics such as disability, sexual orientation or gender. Whilst not a guarantee, this can be a good indicator that the organisation may provide a positive environment for you to succeed. Some of these equality marks that you may want to look out for are the Disability Confident Scheme, Business Disability Forums’ Disability Standard and Mindful employer.
Often they have a list of Organisations that are signed up:
There are also lots of organisations out there that offer schemes or programmes that co-ordinate with businesses and organisations to offer a range of opportunities such as the Change 100 summer Internship programme that has recently opened and is taking applications for Summer 2020. Many of these organisations have much more than just lists of jobs or schemes but may also offer a range of advice, support or mentoring, for example, MyPlus student club offers a range of opportunities, runs a range of events such as to help student engage in the worlds of finance or law and has many useful articles and case studies to look through. Others are more targeted around supporting specific conditions such as Ambitious about Autism or Blind in business.
More supporting organisations to look through:
EvenBreak – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/
EmployAbility – https://www.employ-ability.org.uk/
Remploy – https://www.remploy.co.uk/
Exceptional Individuals (targeted at Neurodiversity) – https://exceptionalindividuals.com/
City Disabilities – http://citydisabilities.org.uk/
Verdica – https://www.vercida.com/uk
Finding the right opportunities is tough for everyone and it’s useful to remember that the recruitment process is two way. It’s not only about “will they hire me?”. In fact, it can also be helpful for you to decide if they will be the right environment for you. Good luck with your job search and remember that the Careers Team is always here to support you.