Meet Daniel Biddle

27 September 2018

Daniel BiddleThis Friday, 28 September, over eighty top employers will attend Wales’ largest employment and inclusion conference at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium.

The event is a collaboration between Leonard Cheshire Wales, Daniel Biddle and inclusion consultancy Delsion and will look to further inform the conversation around inclusion in the workplace.

Among the attendees will be Airbus, Great Western Railway, Legal & General, NHS, South Wales Police and Welsh Government HR

We caught up with Daniel Biddle as he juggles his own busy accessibility consultancy — Nationwide Access Consultants — with  the logistics of organising this landmark event.

How did the idea for the conference come about in the first place?

The idea was originally borne of frustration at constantly being knocked back when applying for jobs, so after meeting with Leonard Cheshire and seeing that their drivers for improving employment opportunities were the same as mine, it was just a natural progression to develop the summit.

How have you juggled the organisation of it with your own consultancy?

Tackling employment issues around disability is a mainstay of my organisation so this has been in keeping with what I do on a daily basis.

It sounds like the event is taking shape?

It’s amazing to see so many people enthused about the event. It’s been hard work but the numbers of people who have responded has been proof that it’s all been worthwhile.

We have a fantastic line up of speakers and a packed agenda so it should be an amazing day.

What can people expect on the day?

We want it to be challenging, thought provoking and inspiring.  We hope people will leave the room wanting to know more and with a desire to take their first steps on the journey to inclusive recruitment.

Would you see the event as progress?

I think the number of organisations who are attending is proof that there is a desire to tackle the issues.

We hope the progress comes after the summit when we can help drive real change in the landscape of opportunities for employment for the disabled community.

Do you think it could be a yearly event?

I would hope so, there is such a gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people* we need to keep this issue high on the agenda.

First Wales then England?

That would be amazing and that should be what we are planning for.

Is there anything like it elsewhere?

This is the first of its kind, where we want to hear from employers to help us understand their starting position on this issue.

Are you aware of our Change 100 programme?

The Change 100 programme is doing amazing things and we hope the summit can aid this as well.

Are there any immediate changes to the law that would help employment inclusion?

We have the Equality Act 2010, but I feel that this issue is more about learning and understanding as the law is in place and discrimination is still occurring in terms of employment for disabled people.

I would like to see the government lead the way and show employers the way forward.

We need to see more disabled people employed in big organisations, disabled people working with the government to drive that and acting as role models for disabled people seeking work.

We need to showcase the vast pool of talent within the disabled community and this in conjunction with a change to the law that strengthens the rights of disabled people trying to get into work and those already employed. 

How’s the consultancy going?

It’s a slow process as it’s not just physical environments and policies that need changing, it attitudes towards disability as well and that is always going to be difficult.

*Currently just half of disabled people in the UK are employed (50.7%) — compared with eight in 10 non-disabled people (81.1%).