Making peoples’ skills and strengths your business

Opinion Piece by Jonathan Allan – Disability Services Manager, Enable

The BBC 2 series, ‘Employable Me’, has brought issues surrounding employment for people with disabilities into our living rooms, news articles and across social media. The show demonstrates the many challenges that individuals face when searching for employment as well as presenting the benefits that companies can gain from employing people with a range of abilities. Following what it calls Britain’s most ‘extraordinary job seekers’, the show aims to prove that having a neurological condition, such as Tourette’s or autism, should not make someone unemployable.

So what are the real issues of employment surrounding the UK disabled population of 10million people and what are the real advantages of employing someone with a disability?

According to an annual population survey, conducted by, one in four adults with a work-limiting disability are not working but want to, this compares with one in 15 of those with no work-limiting disability.  The survey also showed that 60% of working-age adults with a disability are not in paid work. This is compared to only 15% of their able-bodied counterparts. A third of these people – 1 million to be exact – say that they want to work but that they have not been able to find a job. These issues were demonstrated on the BBC programme when it showed 34-year-old Brett, who is on the autism spectrum, speaking about how he had been turned away from every job he had applied for, for the past eight years.

Employment is key to building on an individual’s confidence and self-worth and it acts as a core element of social inclusion – something that can have a direct impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. The fact is that there are many people with disabilities who are desperate to work but find the process challenging and disheartening.

It is important for employers to consider the many benefits of recruiting people with a range of abilities and the strong attributes that they can bring to a company.

People with disabilities are amongst some of the most enthusiastic workers – this enthusiasm can stimulate other employees and can help to build motivation across the workforce, increasing production and decreasing sick leave. According to figures published by Real Role – 77% of the general public think more highly of companies that make extra effort to employ people with disabilities. This can have a positive effect on any business and increase profit margins. It is also important for companies to consider the advantages of gaining knowledge on and representing their own diverse customer base at the same time as informing their other staff members on issues surrounding disability.

Sometimes it is difficult to find someone with the correct skills and willingness to fill a role and companies often find that by employing a person with a disability, they are able to gain someone who performs those tasks willingly and well.

Enable is a supported employment service that strives to spread awareness of these benefits and tackle the issue of unemployment among people with disabilities. Enable believes that encouraging applications from people with a range of abilities is good for business. It can help companies to increase the number of high quality applicants available, create a workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers it serves and the community in which it is based, as well as bringing additional skills to the business.

Enable works closely with employers to identify job opportunities to match with suitably skilled candidates – ultimately resulting in longer term employment. The company is able to provide a range of training courses to employers for their staff. By carrying out disability awareness courses, companies can be supported in developing strategies relating to disability in the workplace.

Enable also offers time unlimited support to the employer, making sure that there is assistance available for any challenging communications and training. As the services are voluntary to the employees and part of a funded programme, they have the added financial benefit of requiring no recruitment costs.

If your company is interested in working with enable, use the contact information at the bottom of the page to get in touch.