Disabled speakers lead the way at Selby “Disability confident” conference.
“This conference was the first step in creating more job opportunities and tackling discrimination against people with a disability” says Nigel Adams MP.
- In the Yorkshire region nearly 270,000 people registered as disabled are in employment.
- That still leaves 56% of people registered as having a disability who are not in work with many of them wanting to work if there were more opportunities.
- The Selby Conference demonstrated the business benefits disabled people bring to the workplace through their determination and dedication.
- The conference heard from 4 people with a disability and all of them displayed talent and expertise that employers at the event saw as valuable to them.
- The 20 local and national companies attending all made pledges to open up more job opportunities for people with a disability.
- The event had direct support from Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People who thanked Nigel Adams MP for helping the Government’s drive to end discrimination in the workplace and provide support to disabled people who seek work.
- The conference confirmed that there is no reason why disabled people should not be viewed as equals with other non-disabled people.
Nigel Adams said “This Government is committed to Jobs for all, as set out in the Conservative manifesto. That must include jobs for people with a disability who have the skills necessary to do a job but may currently face discrimination and lack of understanding. The objective of this conference was to highlight the capability and talent that people with a disability can bring to the workplace and I must congratulate all of our conference speakers for delivering that message.”
The first speaker was Jackie Humphries from Selby District Council who explained the “Disability Confident” employer accreditation and the difference it made in the way that they recruited. The Council selects candidates for interview on the basis of key skills required, and a disability is not a factor. The accreditation symbol of two ticks is displayed on job advertisements and this gives people with a disability the confidence to apply and to know that they will be fairly considered for the post. Later the conference heard about the “Access to Work” scheme. a Government initiative which provides financial support to enable disabled people to find and stay in work, by supporting such things as hearing loops or ramps required by disabled workers.
The inspiration at the conference was provided by the disabled speakers, there was no doubt that they were all capable of making a major contribution. All of them had to overcome their disability and this required a great deal of determination – something that they were all proud of, but also something that they would bring with them to the workplace and their jobs.
The difficulties that they had overcome and the confidence with which they spoke, or in the case of Rachel Hardcastle “signed” because she had to deliver her talk by sign language made the case – people with a disability can make a major contribution and bring a whole new perspective in a work environment. Rachel has now set up her own business, Castle Communications.
The keynote speaker was Pamela Uddin who spoke about her dyslexia and how she had to overcome it through school and then University. Pamela was one of the contestants on the Apprentice TV series.
Gavin Harding, Mayor of Selby spoke with pride about being the first Mayor in the UK with a learning disability. Having become Mayor he had a lot of suggestions about jobs that could be done by people with a learning disability.
Job satisfaction is very important, and this was clear from what Bryan Crossdale had to say. He enjoyed working as a volunteer because work provided an intellectual challenge, used his organisational skills and acted as a distraction from the pain he suffered.
The conference also heard about the way in which Superfast broadband can remove the barrier of access by making it easier for people with a disability to work from home. Superfast broadband is now available to 90% of properties in North Yorkshire and brings with it new opportunities via video-conferencing and teamwork using cloud computing. In commenting on the conference Carole Haywood Poole said that she had been “humbled” by the stories told by the disabled speakers and the difficulties that they had overcome.
Nigel Adams MP, Member of Parliament for Selby and Ainsty, said:
“I am sure that everybody who attended the conference came away with the confidence to consider people with a disability as candidates when they need to fill job vacancies. The speakers with a disability who spoke at the conference were confident and capable. The conference was just the first step in a plan to make sure that there is work available for all and that disability should not rule people out if they have the abilities needed to do the job. I will now be taking this message to other employers and will include opportunities for people with a disability at my Jobs Fair later this year.
All of the employers who attended the event signed the Disability Confident pledge, a commitment to employing more disabled people. I would urge all local businesses to do the same.”
“Tackling unemployment is a Government priority and I welcome the targeted specialist support offered to disabled people so they can find work. We should never be complacent about reducing unemployment and the support we offer disabled people to fulfil their career ambitions. The Disability Confident campaign is helping to break down traditional barriers that have held progress in this area back. It is clear to me that employers are increasingly aware of the talents disabled workers possess.”
Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People:
“I would like to personally thank Nigel Adams for hosting a Disability Confident event in Selby. It’s fantastic to see my colleagues continue to fight for an end to discrimination in the workplace and support disabled people who want to get into employment
“Over the past year, nearly 240,000 more disabled people entered work and this Government has committed to building on this progress by halving the gap between the disabled and non-disabled employment rates.
“Businesses are clearly seeing the benefits of employing a diverse workforce. By making small, targeted adjustments employers can take advantage of a huge wealth of talent.”