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How our new Moving Up manager is taking the project online

8 January 2021

Hello everyone! I just wanted to take a bit of time to introduce myself and what is happening with the Moving Up project. I’m Jack McLellan and at the beginning of November, I started in my new role as Manager for Moving Up, where I’ll be looking at work experience opportunities for young disabled people.

Taking on my new role means that I now have ‘end-to-end’ experience of the Moving Up programme. In Spring 2016, I joined the project as a work experience participant, having spent years after graduating from university struggling to find work as a disabled person. My placement was with the advocacy team at MDUK, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only did it give me experience in an area of work I would not otherwise have known about, it also allowed me to experience what it would be like to balance work with my disability. Most importantly though, it majorly boosted my confidence; it had taken a serious hit after years of unsuccessfully looking for work.

A little while after leaving the Moving Up project, I applied for a job at MDUK as HR Assistant. I was successful, and started in the role in October 2016. I really enjoyed this role; I got to work with everyone across the charity at some point, along with getting a bit of experience in nearly every part of HR. One area that I worked on a lot was recruitment for the charity. I have seen countless CV and cover letters; the good, the bad and the quite frankly weird!

My personal experience of trying to find work as a disabled person, coupled with my years of experience in HR, have given me a passion for improving employment opportunities for young disabled people. I know what organisations will be looking for and how to make those gains to stand out in what will become an even more crowded job market in the future. But I also know how it feels to be a disabled person looking for work. All of my experience will drive me to provide a high-quality service for disabled people.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier in the year, we have seen drastic changes in the world of work. To begin with, the unemployment rate has grown significantly, with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently saying that by the middle of 2021, 2.6 million people could be unemployed. In addition, the number of job vacancies available is significantly lower than previous years. This doesn’t paint a great picture. But I always try to find a positive. Moving Up will use what we have learnt this year to benefit disabled people in work.

Since March, the Government has encouraged people to work from home wherever this is possible. Even though this hasn’t been a smooth or simple transition for all, it has proven it is possible. We have had to find new ways to work. The world of work will not be the same again, and I am determined to play my part to make sure that disabled people are part of what work looks like in the future. It has also been a chance for us at Moving Up to take a step back and look at how we can build on the progress we have made in the past few years.

In the first four weeks in post, I have already met with the charity Scope and a group of MPs to discuss the disability employment gap, and the impact COVID-19 has had on it. It was a really productive meeting to see what other organisations were doing, and to hear that MPs were aware and looking to improve the gap. I am also attending the Building Strong Communities Workshop by the London Recovery Board. Over 200 people were part of this, with the aim being to see how we can all work together to produce a better London that works for everyone.

We will be soon meeting with the project funders to discuss the exciting new ideas that we have been considering and how we hope to see the programme develop in the future. We also want to know what you think and encourage you to share your thoughts on how you think we can smooth the pathway to work for disabled people.

One thing I can say for sure is that the work experience placements will be staying – with the biggest difference being that, like most MDUK staff are doing, these placements will have to be remote until we can all return to the office. We already have a few ideas for placements at MDUK, which include supporting our work to secure more Changing Places toilets, and working with our campaigns team to capture the experience of people with a neuromuscular condition during the pandemic and the impact COVID-19 has had on specialist healthcare.

Finally, this has been an extremely difficult year for all, but the way that people are working collaboratively across organisations, and in new, innovative ways, is truly inspiring.

I hope to be sharing more details with you soon, but if you’re interested in getting involved with Moving Up and want to get in touch, send me over an email on

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