03/12/2017 10:04 GMT | Updated 03/12/2017 10:04 GMT

On International Day Of Persons With Disabilities, Let's Ensure That Barriers To Work Are Broken Down


Today marks the UN’s International Day of Persons With Disabilities, a day on which the UN hopes to inspire a “transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. This ‘society that works for all’ has been echoed by the Government’s promise – just this week they announced a new approach to tackling the disability employment gap in an effort to “build country that works for everyone”.

Personally, I feel like the whole process of finding work and applying for jobs is so stressful for disabled people. There were days when it was terrible – when I was just sending loads and loads of messages but getting no response other than the standard email just sent by the system.

Scope’s research found that when applying for jobs only 51% of disabled applications result in an interview compared with 69% for non-disabled applicants. Also on average, disabled people apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people when searching for a job. For me, it’s been a really difficult and disappointing experience.

I’ve had a lot of voluntary opportunities but only two paid jobs and have found it really difficult to get an interview. I think a lot of my work experience has been down to sheer perseverance.


Attitudes can be a real barrier

I’m always looking for opportunities but those opportunities need to physically work for me and there don’t seem to be many of them. I felt really supported in my last job but one of the reasons I left was that the travel was just impossible.

Even support from the Jobcentre doesn’t really work for disabled people because it’s a very standard process. They’re not offering bespoke support.

Attitudes can be a real barrier. Scope and Virgin Media’s research found that over a third (37%) of respondents who don’t feel confident in getting a job believe employers won’t hire them because of their impairment or condition.

Personally, I’ve felt quite intimidated bringing up my adjustment needs with potential employers because you just think “Well, if they find somebody who can do the typical 9-5, they’ll go for them.”


Work With Me

The latest Government figures show there are one million disabled people in the UK who want to work but are currently unemployed. I think that’s a real scandal and a real loss of potential.

That’s why I’m supporting Work With Me – a three-year initiative by Scope and Virgin Media which aims to understand and tackle the barriers disabled people face getting into and staying in work. 

The campaign is inviting members of the public, employers and Government to work together to address these issues more quickly.

So join me in supporting this campaign to ensure that disabled people who can and want to work aren’t denied the opportunity any longer.

It’s only then that we’ll truly achieve the UN’s vision of a ‘sustainable and resilient society for all’.