Mind the disability employment gap
16 October 2015
by Ciaran Osborne
What does work mean to you? Tell us the three things which come to mind when you think about work.
Disability in the workplace can be a controversial topic. Some people think disabled people should work more. Some people think disabled people can’t work at all. And others think there are some jobs disabled people just can’t do.
But when we talk to disabled people, and look at what disabled people are achieving across the world every day, the reality is much more complex.
Work means different things to different people. For some, being disabled makes it harder to work — or to progress in work. For some, disability is at the very core of the work they do.
For example, Philip is a town planner, but because he can’t find an accessible home in the same place as his next job opportunity, his career has been in arrested development for years.
Then there’s Dan Eley, who broke his back while working with deprived children in Colombia. He has since founded a charity offering apprenticeship-style training schemes for children living in poverty in Colombia and Latin America.
And there’s me, a type 1 diabetic. Working somewhere where I can take my medication at my desk without funny looks, and rely on someone to grab me a can of coke if I have a hypo, is a real plus.
What does work mean to you?
But we know that disabled people are less likely to be employed than non-disabled people at all age groups. Recently the government has committed to halve the disability employment gap and we think this is one of the most ambitious and positive commitments for disabled people in recent decades. We want to make sure this happens.
We think work means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And we’d like to know what it means to you.
Your words will help us to speak up and keep the government on track to halve the disability employment gap.
Ciaran Osborne is policy and campaigns manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability.