This government believes employment is a key tool for building self-worth and making an individual part of society.
The award winning Disability Confident campaign was launched by the Prime Minister in July 2013 to challenge negative attitudes to disability employment and promote equal opportunities for all individuals who can work. We are working in partnership with employers to remove barriers, increase understanding and ensure that disabled people have opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.
Through the national employer event and a series of seven regional events, the campaign reached over 1,100 employers across Britain, who have made over 200 pledges to be Disability Confident. In July 2014 we launched an expanded and updated employer portal with advice and information for employers on obligations and support available to employ disabled people.
Also in July 2014, we launched a toolkit and supplementary information to support MPs and other individuals/organisations who wish to hold a Disability Confident event.
Disability Confident is going global: #disabilityconfident has been trending around the world in countries including Australia, Germany and the USA. The campaign has also inspired similar programmes abroad. The UK is leading the way in building positive attitudes towards disability employment.
Disability Confident encourages employers to become more confident about employing disabled people:
By breaking down the barriers and challenging negative attitudes towards employing disabled people;
Through building a better understanding of the support available to employers as they recruit and retain disabled employees.
The business benefits of employing disabled people are substantial:
Around a sixth of working aged people in the UK are disabled. Being open to employing disabled people will therefore increase the talent, experience and diversity of the workforce.
A workforce including disabled people will help businesses to respond to the needs of the third of disabled people who still have difficulty accessing goods and services.
David Cameron said:
“What hope do we have in this global race if we lose out on the talent and skills of one-fifth of our population? It would be like competing with one hand tied behind our back.”
Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays Retail & Business Banking, said:
“We must recognise that being disability confident isn’t a problem to be overcome - it’s an opportunity not to be missed.”
For the average business, 20% of their customers are likely to be disabled people.
The spending power of households that include a disabled person, the ‘Purple Pound’ is currently valued at £212 billion a year. Employing disabled people creates better connections with disabled customers which allow businesses to tap into this spending power.
Case Study: Disability Confident
Chris Kew is a training co-ordinator at Hands Free Computing Ltd. Following an accident when Chris was eighteen, he was left with life-threatening injuries as a result of a brain haemorrhage.
Chris has now recovered from his accident but is left with lasting cognitive damage, including short-term memory problems and epilepsy triggered by stress and lighting. He found that his condition was seen as a barrier in previous job roles but has been delighted at the help and support he has received since joining Hands Free Computing two years ago.