How Disability Confident Are You?

Posted: 4th December 2017

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By: Kay Heald

How Disability Confident Are You?

Did you know that almost a fifth of the working age population is disabled and the vast majority of these people develop their conditions or impairments during their working lives. This means there is a huge pool of talent that is often being overlooked, due to misinformation, misunderstanding and a lack of support.

Have you heard of the Disability Confident scheme?

Disability Confident is a voluntary government scheme designed to support employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to workplaces.

The scheme is divided into three levels:

  • Disability Confident Committed
  • Disability Confident Employer
  • Disability Confident Leader

At each level employers commit to taking actions that will make a real difference to disabled employment. To become a Confident Leader, organisations must act as a champion for the scheme within their local and business communities. However, to reach this level organisations must also have their self-assessment validated from outside their business. Although access to the scheme and its resources are free, a number of organisations are also accessing specialist providers to assist them in the process through employee training, advice and guidance, such as Purple, a community interest company and well-regarded provider of disability services.

A Disability Confident organisation is described as one that:

  • Challenges attitudes towards disability
  • Increases understanding of disability
  • Removes barriers that disabled people and those with long-term health conditions face
  • Ensures that disabled people have opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations

 

To date, over 5,000 organisations have registered to become Disability Confident, pledging their commitment to attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

Although there has been some criticism over the robustness of the accreditation process, participating organisations have reported noticeable changes in attitude, awareness and approaches to disability, which they believe has been good for business.

Recent research is also showing that Disability Confident organisations are playing an important role in changing attitudes towards disability, by challenging behaviour and cultures not only in their own businesses, but their wider networks and communities too.

How can you find out more?

If you want to find out more about the scheme or are interested in signing up to it, check out details on the Disability Confident website. The gov.uk website also has lots of useful information, ideas and case studies.