Make work a fair place by focusing on ability NOT disability

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DON’T focus on disability – look for the ability.

That’s the message from the UK’s disabled workforce.

A third of disabled people feel they suffer from prejudice, and one in four firms admit they are less likely to employ one of them

Of the 6.8million working-age people with some form of disability, less than 47 per cent are in employment — compared to more than 75 per cent of non-disabled people.

This gap has steadily dropped over 14 years but inclusivity is still elusive.

Charities say there remain a million people in this group who want to work but cannot find jobs.

A third of disabled people feel they suffer from prejudice, and one in four firms admit they are less likely to employ one of them.

Government, charities and activists are now pushing to make sure disabled workers are properly represented across every sector.

One area where job opportunities are increasing is in the media, with growing numbers of disabled influencers, actors and journalists helping to change perceptions.

Influencers champion inclusivity

JASMINE Whipps, known as Jazzy, is a deaf influencer with 200,000 subscribers on YouTube.

The 21-year-old from South East London set up her channel after leaving secondary school in 2015.

Deaf influencer Jasmine ‘Jazzy’ Whipps says: ‘We still need to break barriers, but my work aims to allow people to learn and connect effectively’

She said: “I began by making hair and make-up videos after watching other beauty YouTubers.

“I hadn’t seen any other deaf creators so I felt a need to start something. Soon I was receiving hundreds of comments from the deaf audience wanting more.

“That made me realise that it’s important to have deaf role models for young people to show being deaf is not going to stop you from doing what you love to do, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

“Now there are many more deaf and disabled creators coming through which is fantastic, as I feel it was hidden when I was younger.

“The rise in deaf creators also means there are more people keen to learn British Sign Language.

“We still need to break barriers, but my work aims to allow people to learn and connect effectively.”

See Jazzy on her YouTube channel at bit.ly/368DLkU.

Winning ways for women

LOCKDOWN has hit women in the job market hardest, with just 41.5 per cent of new roles going to them.

Charlotte Davies, careers expert at LinkedIn, believes women will need to rebuild their career confidence as lockdown lifts.

Lockdown has hit women in the job market hardest with just 41.5 per cent of new roles going to them

She says: “With the extra demands on our time and heightened stress due to the pandemic, there is no wonder that women’s confidence levels have taken a hit.”

These are her top tips.

  • Follow your strengths: Ask a friend to reflect on what your strong points are. It will build up confidence and can lead you to put yourself forward for more opportunities at work.
  • Lean on your community: Reach out and ask for support when you need it, particularly from your female peer group.
  • Negotiate a work contract that works for you: Speak to your employer about flexible working options. Find out more at bit.ly/375LYWh.
  • Learn a new skill: Microsoft and LinkedIn have teamed up to offer nearly 1,000 hours of courses. See opportunity.linkedin.com.
  • Find a female mentor: Mentors are good anyway, but a female mentor you look up to is best for visualising what you want to achieve.