Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage today hosted her much anticipated Disability Confident event, giving local businesses an understanding of why they should take on disabled jobseekers and the support available to them to do so.
The event was attended by businesses from across Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, including QinetiQ, Huhtamaki, Tesco and Thorngate Almhouse Trust as well as local schools. Delegates heard from a range of speakers: employers, employees with physical disabilities and learning difficulties and providers of employment support, all of whom offered a valuable insight into the importance of making businesses accessible to disabled jobseekers. The key note speaker was former BBC The Apprentice contestant, Pamela Uddin who is dyslexic and dyspraxic and runs a successful company educating employers in maximising their business potential by promoting inclusivity.
Held at St Vincent College in Gosport, the event gave businesses a chance to build valuable links between schools and providers, bridging the gap between education and employment. Attendees were also asked to make pledges, detailing how they hoped to make changes to their employment practice, enabling them to take on disabled jobseekers more easily.
Commenting after the event, Caroline said:
“People with either physical disabilities or learning difficulties have a huge amount to offer growing businesses so it is important their skills are tapped into, however the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people is currently at thirty per cent. Having heard from speakers who are living with these difficulties it is clear that businesses need to be doing more to make the workplace more accessible.
Today’s event is the first step towards breaking down the barriers which prevent disabled jobseekers here in the Gosport constituency from getting into work. I know that those who attended were inspired by our fantastic speakers and I’m confident that they will do their best to meet the commitments that they have made today.”
The Disability Confident campaign was established by the Prime Minister in 2013 and is run by the Department for Work and Pensions. So far, 238,000 have found work and the Prime Minister has made a commitment to get one million more disabled people into work.