To: prime minister of the UK and Northern Ireland

Understanding the benefits of getting disabled people into work

The Government must tighten up equality legislation to make even indirect discrimination impossible. Targeted campaigns should promote the benefits of employing disabled people, particularly those with a sensory impairment, and highlight the support available to employers, such as the Access to Work scheme, which provides financial support for assistive technology.

Why is this important?

During Channel 4’s leaders’ debate, a member of the audience asked what the Conservatives plan to do to get more disabled people into work. David Cameron replied that the culture of employers needs to change. I could not agree more.
I am a visually impaired qualified business administrator who has also studied business studies seeking a new job in the administrative or marketing profession. I have been asked questions during interviews that would never be asked of a non-disabled candidate – such as how I use the telephone – despite evidence of my competencies and ability to do the job.
According to the Labour Force Survey, disabled people remain significantly less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people. It is not enough to comply with disability discrimination legislation or to offer “guaranteed interviews” to disabled applicants. Employers fear that disabled employees will be a burden and so reject these candidates – on grounds such as lack of experience in an area of work not essential for the job – even when they perform well at interview.

This is important to me as I am a disabled young individual who is desperate to find work, but to barriers which employers put I place, cannot get a job. This is very frustrating for me, as I want to give something back to the community as wellraising awareness that disabled people can work and are just as qualified as able bodied people

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