THE BLOG

Disability Confident - Thank You for Making a Positive Change

27/07/2015 16:11 BST | Updated 27/07/2016 10:59 BST

It is two years since the Prime Minister stood up in July 2013 and launched the Disability Confident campaign. While we still have much more to do, few could have imagined the success it would achieve in such a short space of time.

That day, David Cameron spoke of our aim to make employers confident enough to create diverse workforces, explaining that an inclusive approach is good for disabled people and good for business.

His words and the reaction of the business community have clearly had an effect. The past year has seen nearly 240,000 more disabled people in work. This is the equivalent of 650 more disabled people experiencing the financial, social and mental health benefits of having a job every single day.

It's a success which has means that, in total, 3.2million disabled people are now in employment.

Both the Prime Minister and I would like to thank all businesses who have supported Disability Confident since its launch. Your efforts to fight discrimination and promote the invaluable contribution disabled people make to the workplace are helping to convince other employers to make similar pledges.

Disabled people help create a diverse workforce - something which promises to bring new thinking and perspectives to any company.

It's very simple: businesses need employees from the widest range of backgrounds so they reflect the communities they serve. Around one in five people in the UK are disabled - ask yourself: does that ratio also apply to your business?

It is, of course, also the case that in order to get the right skills to contribute to business success, the best employers need to be picking from the widest possible pool of talent. Employers are just cutting themselves off from talented people if they ignore disabled jobseekers.

I became the Minister for Disabled People in May this year and I take my responsibility to the campaign very seriously. I want to speak to as many people as possible about how to take it forward, so if you have any ideas then let me know by commenting below or contacting my team directly at dwp.disabilityconfident@dwp.gsi.gov.uk.

To achieve the government ambition of halving the disability employment gap, I believe Disability Confident needs to reach out to small and medium sized enterprises. Nearly 48% of the working population is employed by SMEs and I'm particularly keen to hear from smaller firms about what support they feel they need.

We have an exciting opportunity to make a real difference for people who want the chance to flourish in the world of work. Let's make it happen.

To find out more information about Disability Confident campaign visit our page on GOV.UK.

Justin Tomlinson is the minister for disabled people and Conservative MP for North Swindon

This blog first appeared on LinkedIn, and can be read here