Enabling employers to see the benefits of employing people with a disability is part of the Scottish Government’s Fairer Scotland For Disabled People 93 point action plan. Only around 40% of working age disabled adults are in employment, compared with more than 80% of adults with no disability.
A campaign is now underway which is targeted at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and highlights information and support. An internship programme for disabled people run by Inclusion Scotland will be opened up to Small and Middle sized businesses (SMEs) for the first time, creating new avenues of work experience in the private sector.
Inclusion Scotland explain that it “is run by disabled people themselves. This is important because disabled people know best about the barriers that prevent our full inclusion into Scottish society. We experience them every day. But we cannot remove them by ourselves. We need allies and supporters. We need those in power to hear disabled people’s voices and work with us to remove them.”
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman who launched the Scottish Government’s one month campaign said:
“This important campaign seeks to dispel the myths – that employing disabled people is too costly, too difficult or will affect profitability. The reality is disabled people have a wealth of skills and talents which are too often unnoticed or ignored.”
“Disabled people should have equal access to employment opportunities and we are committed to reducing the employment gap by at least half. Their skills, hard work and commitment are valuable to any employer – and with practical and financial support available to businesses it just makes sense to recruit from the widest talent pool possible.”
Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn added:
“People with disabilities already make a significant contribution to our economy, however far too many simply aren’t given the opportunity. Businesses risk missing out on talent that can add real value to their organisations, which is an issue we must address.”
“By highlighting the clear benefits of diverse recruitment practices, we believe more small business can help ensure a greater proportion of disabled people can become valued employees. I would encourage all SMEs to get involved and find out more.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame