Members of Parliament across the country have been asked to help raise the profile of disabled people in the workplace within their own constituencies.
Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper has urged every MP to host a disability employment event in their area to showcase the skills of disabled people at work and encourage businesses to make the most of that pool of talent.
More than 30 MPs have already signed up to hold events, with Mr Harper holding an event in Gloucestershire.
Mr Harper was joined by star of BBC1’s The Apprentice, Pamela Uddin, for his event in Forest of Dean. The event featured business and charity sector speakers from across the Gloucestershire area, including those with first-hand experience of managing disability in the workplace.
Pamela Uddin will speak about how simple adjustments made by her employer, Unilever, have helped her to manage her own disabilities – dyslexia and a stammer – and thrive in her role.
Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, said:
“With record employment and almost 700,000 vacancies in the economy today, employers should be making the most of the talent that exists amongst disabled people in this country.”
“I want to see disabled people able to take full advantage of our growing economy and our jobs miracle, and that’s why I want my fellow MPs to hold a disability employment event in every Parliamentary constituency.”
“This isn’t just about doing what’s right, it’s about recognising that diverse workplaces are stronger workplaces and that means more dynamic and stronger businesses to drive forward our economic recovery.”
With nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK that are disabled or have a health condition, historically there has been a large gap between the numbers of disabled people in work compared with non-disabled people.
The government is working with employers to remove barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations, through the Disability Confident campaign.
The campaign recognises that employers are crucial to improving employment outcomes for disabled people and seeks to support those which want to do the right thing.
The employment rate for disabled people having risen by 2.5% in the year to September 2014, with disability employment now standing at 3.1 million
In a 2013 survey, 42% of disabled people looking for work said one of the biggest barriers they faced was the attitude of employers. The Disability Confident campaign is working with employers to raise the profile of disability employment and tackling those misconceptions.