Oadby and Wigston Borough Council’s Community Engagement Forum hosted the first Disability Confident Breakfast event, which was attended by those representing Business, Private, Public Sectors and Third Sector agencies.
Thanks to the provision of the event, breakfast was extended to Delifrance Wigston.
The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mrs Lynda Eaton introduced the event and provided a supportive and relevant speech. Councillor Mrs Samia Haq acted as the event Chairperson on behalf of Councillor Jeffrey Kaufman, who was unable to attend.
There were a range of speakers during the morning including:
· Mr Mark Esho MBA of Easy Internet
· NnadiriNjideka and Harshida Ghaghda from the Department for Work and Pensions
· Krystyna Frampton from Leicester Employment Hub
· Mr Bhavin Gohil, a local resident who represented the Mosaic Charity, in his role as Trustee and Oadby and Wigston Borough Youth Council.
Presentations and written speeches were used to illustrate the event topic ‘Disability Confident’.
The speakers gave an overview of the barriers faced by people with a disability and how with available Government funding and support, employers can be supported to recruit people with a disability into the workforce.
The Disability Confident scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by, employing people with a disability. It is voluntary and has been developed by Government agencies. The scheme has three levels that have been designed to support employers on the Disability Confident journey. Employers must complete each level before moving on to the next. The scheme is the main vehicle for supporting employers to offer job opportunities to people with a disability and or health issue. Funding to support the employer to do this was highlighted.
The societal prejudice and unconscious bias, which exists, was shown to be a hindrance to the employment of people with a disability. A personal perspective of how disability held back a person from accessing employment was shared. The main message from the presentation was that, a disability cannot be allowed to hold back personal and career aspirations as it could lead to low self-esteem and poor mental wellbeing of the individual. Myths about employees with a disability were shared and debunked. Discrimination against employing people with a disability in the workplace was said to be a missed opportunity for building societal economic value from which everyone can profit.
In Mark Eshos business fifty percent of people work remotely. He himself is a sufferer of Polio and at times needs to use a wheelchair. He emphasised that not all disabled people use a wheelchair. For others who use a wheelchair there is an unfounded perception that they cannot walk. There are many types of disabilities in society including those, which are unseen.
The following solutions were suggested for offering people a chance to work:
· Offer them an interview.
· Do not be afraid to ask questions.
· Never make assumptions and make reasonable adjustments.
Leicester Disability Hub explained how to be a Disability Confident employer; how to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace using Access to Work, providing support where a business has 25 or less employees; as well as the use of interviewing steps; and the benefits to the employer and the workplace employing people with a disability.
A business with 25 or fewer employees can get extra support through Jobcentre Plus to help with recruitment and retention of staff with a disability or health condition. Contact Jobcentre Plus to speak to a ‘Small Employer’ Adviser. For more information contact: Krystyna.Frampton@leicester.gov.uk
NnadiriNjideka and Harshida Ghaghda representing the Department for Work and Pensions provided a presentation focussed on the role of the Small Business Manager and Access to Work. The Small Business Manager covers the area relating to the Small Employer Offer, issues around After Care, explaining to employers the impact of Disability Confident, and advantages to the employers and employees, as well as tips on completing the form and details about the three levels of the Disability Confident Scheme.
Access to Work was outlined. It is a National programme delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions to help overcome barriers that people with health conditions come across. To be eligible a person must be over 16 years of age and not be claiming incapacity benefit or ESA once they are in work. Grants are available to cover additional costs over and above the requirements of making “reasonable adjustments” which an employer is legally obliged to provide under the Equality Act 2010. The grants can be up to £57,200 per person.
For further information about Access to work contact the Customer Service Team on: Telephone: 08001217479 or Text Phone 0800 1217579 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information about Access to Work can be found on the internet at: www.gov.uk/access-to-work. More information is available by accessing an Access to Work Factsheet and the Employer`s Guide to Access to Work on the internet.
The presentation, which was provided at this meeting, is intended to be a general guide to the principles underpinning the Access to Work programme and is not a full and authoritative statement of law.
Plan and deliver a Disability Confident Part 2 Event in 2019.
Circulate all presentations provided today with the minutes.