Disability Awareness Day – Using employment to build social inclusion

Sunday 10 July marks Disability Awareness Day – offering the chance to celebrate everything people with disabilities have achieved. Natalie Hawkins, Senior Employment Officer at Enable, speaks about the benefits of employment for people with disabilities, not only for the individual but also the wider community:

“While employment can bring many benefits for all individuals, it can play an exceptionally positive role in the lives of people with both learning and physical disabilities. Employment does not only offer income but also builds social inclusion. Most jobs involve interactions with co-workers or members of the public, which can help decrease social isolation and build on an individual’s social circles. For people with disabilities, employment not only brings economic value, but important civic, and psychological value as well.

Social inclusion is heightened when people are given opportunities to be active – breaking down barriers they face in their everyday lives. Increased social inclusion and participation reduces loneliness, risk of depression and generally improves health. Improving the presence of people with disabilities in the work place helps to tackle the wider issues of stigma towards such individuals and improves overall public perception.

Throughout the world, paid work is a critical aspect of culture and self-identity, with many individuals organising their lives around their job. Employment helps to define an individual’s place in the community which can be vital for someone who may be otherwise excluded. The unemployed can sometimes find it difficult to establish their place in important activities and roles within a social group.

According to Gov.uk, people with disabilities are sadly, less likely to find employment than those without. Not only does this put the individual at a disadvantage but also has a direct impact on wider society, as whole communities benefit from the economic effects of high employment rates.

The other group of people who can directly benefit from the employment of people with disabilities are the employers themselves. Research has shown that people with disabilities are likely to stay in a job longer than someone without a disability as well as having higher productivity rates and attendance records. High productivity rates and attendance can improve the overall workforce morale and encourage good practice from other staff members.

Customers with disabilities and their families, friends and associates represent a large section of the market and are likely to purchase products and services from companies that both represent and meet their needs. By employing someone with a disability, businesses increase appeal to their diverse customer base – in fact 70% of the public have said that they would value a business more that employs people with disabilities.

Enable is a specialist organisation which supports people with disabilities into work. Our main focus is to assist individuals with disabilities and mental health needs to find the job that suits them. We deliver positive, individualised support into recruitment, as well as a comprehensive package of ongoing advice, guidance and support to both the jobseeker and the employer.

We work with employees and employers to find the right job for the right person. With over 20 years of experience, we have a proven track record of ensuring that clients find the career path that suits their interests and skills, providing support to people in their efforts to achieve steady employment in mainstream competitive jobs.

We firmly believe thatemployment improves health and builds self-worth,as well as bringing financial and social independence. This is something that we work closely with each of our clients to achieve.With the help of innovative employment schemes and approaches, we constantly strive to perform above the national average.”

Our disability services operate across Shropshire, Wolverhampton and Telford. If you are interested in employing someone with a disability, please contact us.