Traditionally, employment rates are significantly lower for disabled people than non-disabled people. Figures for the year ending December 2020 show the employment rate for disabled people in Wales was 48%, compared with 73% of non-disabled people. Yet employing disabled people makes good business sense. To address this gap, the Welsh Government have announced a new network of Disabled People’s Employment Champions. This is part of their drive to improve employment opportunities for disabled people and make businesses in Wales as inclusive as possible.
Huw Chance, Business Development Manager at Electric Classic Cars, entrepreneur and ex-wheelchair rugby player for Wales, is one of the Welsh Governments Disabled People’s Employment Champions and happens to be a MADE Cymru student at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The MADE Cymru team were very excited to invite Huw to speak to his fellow students in a special session about disabled people’s employment and diversity in the workplace.
Huw said, “Post second world war, there were many disabled veterans returning to the UK and this is where charities were set up to offer support. But this had the negative effect of segregating them and not fully investing in their employment options. There was no true belief that they could make a meaningful economic impact. Since then, we seem to have created a lot of policy but very little action. We need to remove barriers in employment rather than focussing on the impairment itself. The Welsh Government want to give employers the whole of market to select from when employing new staff, currently businesses are missing a trick.
We need to innovate our recruitment, have open and honest conversations, and get away from the charity-based approach. Don’t be afraid to ask people about their impairment and what their needs are. It is so timely right now, Covid has changed the landscape and there are job vacancies that need filling. Why limit yourself to only a section of potential employees? Focus on recruitment, retention and retraining and do it because it is economically viable not because you are on some moral crusade. Big thank you to Alan Mumby and Amanda Hayden from the MADE Cymru team who made this talk happen. Amanda has been a great support for both myself and my fellow students – she goes above and beyond in making sure the students are happy with their studies and have everything they need.’”
MADE Cymru’s Alan Mumby teaches Huw on the Innovation Management course says, “It is vitally important that disabled people’s employment should be a major discussion point for both the staff and the students associated with our programme, hence it was given a prime spot on our Friday work schedule. I teach innovation, and it is this thinking that can help remove some of these barriers so we can employ talented people who might just happen to have impairments. The session was an absolute success, and we are already planning a follow-up session at the students’ request.”
For more information about how your business can attract, recruit, and retain disabled employees, contact the Disabled People’s Employment Champions by emailing [email protected] or visit Skills Gateway for Business. You can find more about being a Disability Confident business by visiting here https://disabilityconfident.campaign.gov.uk/
Huw is studying one of MADE Cymru’s fully funded Innovation Management courses. And, we have a new cohort starting in February. If you are interested in joining the course, please contact us on 01792 481199 or [email protected] to find out more. Or complete the contact form below.
MADE Cymru is a suite of programmes designed to navigate organisations through Industry 4.0 via collaborative research & development and upskilling. Part/Fully Funded by the European Social Fund/European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. Delivered by University of Wales Trinity Saint David.