Liz`s presentation

Harnessing diverse talent
Liz Sayce
About me
Disability Rights UK: Disabled people leading change
• Board composed of leaders with lived experience of
mental and physical health conditions/disability: Disabled
People’s Organisation (DPO) leaders, experts in
communications, finance, business…
• Formed Jan 2012, 3-way merger
Constituencies and beneficiaries:
• >300 organisational members
• 674,000 website visitors in year 1
• 1 million factsheets downloaded, 93% said information
met their purposes
UK Commission for Employment and Skills:
• Employer ownership of skills
• Scaling the youth employment challenge
Review of disability employment programmes 2011:
• Led to Access to Work changes eg no cost sharing small
business, greater marketing, more take-up mental health
support, some coverage work experience, reduced red
tape. Numbers beginning to rise
• Remploy. Residential training colleges
Government preparing a disability employment strategy
Increasing diversity
• Superdiversity: Britain is becoming more diverse eg more children
live in families of mixed or multiple racial and/or religious heritage
• UK Fulfilling Potential evidence says 19% population covered by
Equality Act definition of disability
• Many go in and out of the experience of disability (only 2% are born
with their impairment)
‘Their land is our land’ (Andrew McDonald)
• Fluid identities: only 24% consider ourselves ‘disabled’ (lowest in
young people)
Individuals and families are (increasingly) multiply affected:
• Individuals with 3 or more impairments will rise by a third by 2018
• Almost half of disabled children live with a disabled parent
• 15% of disabled people are ‘carers’ compared to 8% of non-disabled
Who can improve skills
and careers in tough times?
Employee and learner power – taking charge of your
learning and career. Mobilising peer support
Employer ambition – securing competitive advantage
through developing skills, in line with an industrial sectorbased strategy. Strong partnerships between employers
and colleges, trade unions.
Employer ownership pilots - £67 million public investment,
matched by £98 million employer investment. Radical
ideas tested eg Siemens and BAE systems training
employees through their supply chains
Public money invested to support both. Developments with
clear line of sight to industrial strategy, economic growth
Employee and learner
Challenge 1: young people
Young disabled people at risk of becoming a ‘lost generation’, living
with long-term poverty and exclusion:
• At 16, the aspirations of disabled and non-disabled people are
broadly the same. By 26 their expectations have diverged: disabled
26 year olds are much more likely to say ‘nothing I do makes any
• At 26, disabled people are nearly 4 times as likely to be out of work;
and even in work to earn less.
• But the gap between disabled and non-disabled 19 year olds getting
level 2 qualifications (A level equivalent) has gone down by 1% a
year in the last decade. Some things are getting better
• Main reason employers reject applications is lack of experience –
yet only 27% offer work experience, 15% offer apprenticeships.
Catch 22
• Young disabled people need to demonstrate achievement to
overcome preconceptions – but often can’t get adjustments or
support for work experience, internships. Double Catch 22
Addressing challenge 1
• Employers – put young people’s employment at heart of
business strategy. Re-invent work experience –
developmental, flexible
• Go beyond word of mouth recruitment (29% employers
recruit this way). Many young people, especially those
facing disadvantage, lack networks
• More flexible apprenticeships eg in Austria disabled
people have a right to a flexible (partial, longer)
apprenticeship. 70% of apprentices are still employed
after 4 years
• Extend Access to Work support to all work experience,
to give young disabled people an equal chance of taking
the vital first career step
Challenge 2. Acquired impairment
– most disabled people are older
Challenge 2: acquiring an
• 300,000 people leave the workplace each year due to
impairments/health conditions. Many would prefer to stay
• Peer support: sharing stories of the possible
• Re-training, work experience – with flexibility
• Public services – gear health and social services to
supporting employment and skills
• Sweden introduced Employment Protection Act,
requiring employers to take every step to employ in the
company before terminating employment on ill-health
grounds. Disability employment rate is 62%, highest in
Challenge 3: life course lack of employment, skills
• 30% employment gap between disabled and nondisabled people (representing 2 million people) – most
with some (often precarious) work history. 36% gap at
age 24
• 5% gap between disabled and non-disabled graduates.
Skills and qualifications can protect
• Those in work earn less than non-disabled peers
• Fulfilling Potential finds greatest reported discrimination
is being given too little responsibility – low expectations
• Historically public money has gone into pre-employment
training, courses, ‘special’ opportunities. Evidence
suggests rapid job search with tailored support generally
more effective
Addressing challenge 3
• Share stories of the possible, with individuals
and employers, HR, occupational health. Peer
• ‘Design in’ adjustments and flexible supports to
evidence based skills developments, in line with
best practice in colleges and employment
• Reduce fear, increase trust
• Consign the concept of ‘distance from the labour
market’ to history? Replace it with understanding
the specialism and/or intensity of support
Challenge 4: system
• Fragmented system eg Work Choice,
Access to Work, Remploy Employment
Services, Disabled Students’
• One personalised specialist disability
employment programme. Learn from
Australian one stop shop (Job Access)
• Disability confident employers and skills
• Employers can harness ‘super-diverse’ talents
for growth – and weed out catch 22s
• Learners and employees – can with investment
mobilise peer support. New models in leaner
times that make resources go further through
• Public money. Supporting both.
• Disability Employment Strategy: a single,
personalised specialist employment programme,
supporting employees and employers,
integrating employment and skills support
Thank you
All-party Parliamentary Group on Disability
Publications: Disability Rights Handbook, Doing Life
• Leadership programmes
• Become a member!