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Am I the invisible job applicant?

Recent figures show that unemployment has increased again, amid the cutbacks and one of the toughest economic climates seen in living memory what hope is there for the people of the United Kingdom?

With the on-going argument over public sector pensions and millions of people disrupted by the strike action it is reported that some jobcentres have had to close for the day, yet  only last week I had a man  in tears in my office because he cannot find work and is just desperate to “contribute to society” How is this fair?

Experiencing difficulties in finding work is something that I know all about; I was made redundant in 2009 from the banking industry.  Job seeking became an obsession for me and I applied for almost 2,000 jobs and spent £1,000 on stamps before deciding to start my own business.  Over the twelve months of unemployment that followed I attended many interviews; I began to feel that many businesses looked scared when they saw that I have a disability and some feared disabled job applicants altogether or simply didn’t understand what having a disability actually means.

Yes we have a big task ahead of us, figures have previously shown that less than 50% of disabled people of working age are economically active and it was estimated that around 23% of disabled people do not hold any qualifications (more than twice that of non disabled individuals) but if we can remove some of the myths and fears that are held about disability then maybe we stand half a chance of improving the situation.

One year after the launch of my business I am pleased to report that mine has not been one of the 9 out of 10 new businesses which is estimated to fail within the first year, in fact my business is growing by the day and I have recently launched a second.  Some months ago I teamed up with Alan McConville from SightED and together we are helping businesses to provide quality support to disabled people.

Committed to Equality is an accreditation which the team has developed to help businesses understand issues such as the Equality Act and also to embrace disability rather than fear it, Many of the businesses we speak to say “We adhere fully to the Disability Discrimination Act” and are often surprised when we discuss the fact that the Equality Act which came into force last year has now replaced this.

Interactive training sessions are the key.  We work with staff to break down the fear faced when employing, selling to, or supporting someone with a disability. A survey carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions estimates that 56% of customers are more likely to use a business with a diverse workforce. If we also consider that the U.K has the second highest prevalence of disability with 27.2% of the population understood to have either a long term health condition or disability then surely it makes sense to invest a few hours of your time to embrace equality. Only by removing some of the perceptions that many employers have about those with a disability can we really stand a chance of getting more people economically active.

For further information about how we can help you please email: [email protected] or call Alan McConville on 01332 287007

This article was taken from the Jobs&Careers website.