We are Disability Confident Committed!
On Friday, we signed a commitment on a Government initiative called Disability Confident. This was launched to help change attitudes for the better, in relation to engaging with the disabled and narrowing the employment gap between able bodied and disabled.
At Portland we have always had an inclusive attitude when employing staff and engaging with disabled learners. We treat everyone as individuals and do not discriminate in any way. But this is not the experience of many disabled people. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities who are able and willing to work is 8.8%, (368,000 people) as compared to able bodied people, whose rate is only 3.4%.
One of the key strategies, we are working with, which can help, is by considering the social model of support needs and not the medical model.
The medical model looks at what is 'wrong' with the person, not what the person needs. It creates low expectations and leads to people losing independence, choice and control in their lives.
The social model is instead about what someone can or can’t do and what we could put in place to remove that barrier. It puts the emphasis on us finding ways to support someone to do something.
So what is our commitment as part of signing up to Disability Confident?
We have committed to 5 actions.
- Ensure our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible
- Communicate and promote vacancies in an inclusive way
- Offer interviews to disabled people
- Anticipate and provide reasonable adjustments as required
- Support any existing employee who acquires a disability or long term health condition to stay in work.
We have also committed to activities which will make a difference for disabled people which we should carry out within the next 12 months, but we are already actively committed to all of the above in the work we do now.
Our AEB team have worked with numerous learners with disabilities since the contract began early this year in our sector based work academies. They are adept at identifying and over-coming barriers, supporting learners through the course and into employment. Keep an eye out for the success stories detailing learners who have benefitted from our programme, some of which will have overcome disabilities among other barriers and challenges.