Fish4Jobs is acutely aware of the challenges that disabled candidates face during their job search. To tackle these barriers head-on, we forged a partnership with Evenbreak, an organisation committed to providing free and accessible careers and employment support tailored exclusively for disabled candidates. This collaboration culminated in an impactful webinar titled 'How to Boost Confidence in Your Job Search as a Disabled Candidate.'
Evenbreak's approach draws upon the valuable perspectives of individuals with lived experience of disability. Through this joint endeavour, our goal is to empower disabled candidates with the knowledge and tools necessary to elevate their job search and foster a sense of self-assurance in their professional pursuits.
Watch the webinar here:
What is disability?
Jane Hatton, Director of Evenbreak, explains that there are two models for disability: the medical model and the social model. The medical model focuses on the negative impact of living with a disability, focusing on ways to ease symptoms, whereas the social model celebrates diversity. The social model recognises how disabled people are impacted by the environment we live in, not just by the condition itself. Within the world of work, a removal of social and environmental barriers by employers, helps accessibility for everyone.
It’s a duty as an employer to remove the barriers that might exist in the recruitment process, as well as the workplace, such as inaccessible technology and physical sites. The world of disability is diverse, with each and every disabled candidate a unique individual, facing distinct barriers on a daily basis. Nonetheless, with bespoke challenges, comes the collective development of skills, such as creative thinking, innovation, resilience, and problem solving, to navigate a way around these barriers.
Disabled candidates are premium candidates, bringing with them the same diversity of expertise as non-disabled candidates, in addition to unique skills developed through lived experience within a world built without disability in mind.
What are the benefits of employing disabled people?
As Jane notes, there’s a common bias surrounding the employment of disabled candidates - will sick leave be an issue? Will they require expensive adjustments? A myth that infiltrates the recruitment world, Jane emphasises the benefits of employing disabled candidates. Alongside experience, strength and qualities, disabled people provide a wider pool of talent. According to Evenbreak, 20% of the UK’s population have a disability or a long-term health condition - excluding this area of talent, thus reducing the talent pool by a large percentage.
Disabled candidates bring a high level of productivity. A candidate using speech-dictation software, for example, is likely to be quicker and more accurate than an individual typing word-by-word. Studies show that on average disabled people take up to 30% less sick leave than non-disabled people. Disabled candidates are used to working under difficult conditions, adapting to technology, or suffering with pain whilst conducting the work day. For those with disability at work, discovering a workplace which values, and supports their employees, results in considerable loyalty.
A benefit that impacts every organisation: the reflection of customers. With a fifth of the UK’s population living with a disability or long-term health conditions, it’s essential to have a workforce with internal intelligence on everything to do with accessibility and inclusion. If an organisation reflects its customers, the company will harbour first-hand knowledge on how to ensure that their products, services and marketing are accessible to all.
Help available to disabled candidates:
Evenbreak helps to fight against disability discrimination, supporting disabled people, seeking a new role or career change. Evenbreak promotes bespoke training and consultancy, aiding employers to improve accessible recruitment processes. They also have a career hive; a career support service dedicated to disabled people.
Alongside this there are support programmes such as ‘Access to Work’, designed to provide financial and practical assistance to help disabled individuals and those with health conditions to find and retain employment. The programme offers support tailored to individual needs, and it can cover a wide range of adjustments and aids to help disabled employees perform their job effectively.
Some of the support provided through Access to Work includes:
• Specialised equipment: funding for specialised equipment, such as screen readers, adapted keyboards, or ergonomic chairs.
Adaptations to the workplace: assistance with making physical changes to the workplace to accommodate the needs of disabled employees, such as ramps, accessible toilets, or door widening.
• Travel expenses: help with additional travel costs incurred due to a disability, like accessible transportation or taxi fares.
• Personal support: support for hiring a support worker, British Sign Language interpreter, or other personal assistance.
• Mental health support: funding for mental health support services, such as counselling or therapy.
• Communicator support: support for employees with communication difficulties, like the provision of British Sign Language interpreters.
For further information on support available to disabled candidates, please visit the Evenbreak website.