It has been argued that anti-discrimination legislation alone is not the most effective way of providing employment opportunities for disabled people. To improve equality for disabled jobseekers, organisations and employers need a better understanding of disability so that they can tailor their employment strategies accordingly.

Our report, Right to Work, (2009) exposes many of the barriers faced by disabled jobseekers with the necessary skills from gaining access to employment. It also provides essential information on how to get into work and stay there. Since then Trailblazers have continued to campaign to get more young disabled people into work and have produced our Ready and Able policy report. The report provides strong, evidence-based recommendations for both Government and employers to narrow the disability employment gap.

Our report revealed:

  • Many young disabled people are scared to disclose their disability on a job application
  • Opportunities to do unpaid work experience are often turned down due to lack of funding for transport and care
  • Those who do not disclose their disability on their application have often experienced awkwardness from the prospective employer
  • Disability Confident cannot be relied upon given the self-certification level

I’d say that I’ve found it much more difficult to get work compared to my non-disabled friends. They’ve been able to obtain basic office experience, but because I can’t photocopy or carry out other administrative tasks, the physical constraints of the disability have made finding work that I can actually do all the more problematic. That said, my lack of work experience has also counted against me.

Trailblazers have made a series of recommendations for both Government and employers, including:

  • Making disability awareness training compulsory at work, with a national organisation having overall responsibility
  • Expanding the Government’s Access to Work grant – which covers the cost of specialist equipment and support for disabled employees – to include paid internships and work experience
  • Allowing applicants decide when to disclose their disability, and to include space on applications for people to explain their conditions and needs, should they wish to

You can read the most recent report here. Trailblazers continues to campaign on improving access to employment. If you are affected by these issues and would like to share your experiences or be a media ambassador, contact us here.

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