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Thread: Standard of support for graduates with disabilities seeking employment...

  1. #1
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    Standard of support for graduates with disabilities seeking employment...

    Hello all,

    I’m working for an exciting start-up recruitment company and I would really appreciate your opinions and advice on something….
    Our company focuses on placing talented people, backed by solid academic qualifications, in Fortune 500 companies. We offer internships, flexible employment and permanent placements tailored around candidate’s requirements. Our client base is growing daily and we have received support from various CEOs. Initially we have been focusing on placing professional sportsmen and sportswomen (able and partially able) and members of the armed forces into these positions but we feel we could be doing more to help people with disabilities outside of our current candidate pool. Injured soldiers and paralympians seem to have quite a lot of support in this respect; however it’s unclear to me how far the support goes beyond that.

    I have just begun researching so please correct me if I’m wrong but, having read through some discussion boards on various support sites for people with disabilities it seems as though there are quite a few graduates that have been having difficulty securing employment. Despite the market, there are opportunities and we would like to utilise our existing client base to help. As a company we have always prided ourselves on talent, and we believe anybody with academic qualifications and a good work ethic deserve a level playing field.

    How has it been for graduates with disabilities in the current market? Are there companies already managing the recruitment process efficient and placing you in jobs relevant to your interests and qualifications? What companies are out there – have you had good/bad experiences? What could have been done better?

    Its early days, but this is something very close to our hearts and we believe the value that our candidates would bring to a corporate is invaluable. I would love to hear of your experiences to date in the job search and most importantly what can we do to help and improve the situation for you?

    All suggestions are welcome – we really want to do this right and appreciate your contribution.
    Thanks for reading.
    Toni

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    I notice you refer to the Fortune 500 not top 100 of the FTSE.

    Did you know that this was a disability website mainly used by UK disabled people not in the USA so our experience won't be relevant to your needs.

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    Hiya,

    Thanks for the reply. Apologies, I meant FTSE 100 companies.... We have been targeting the largest corporations within the financial, retail, insurance, and proprerty sectors focusing on the placement of professional sportspeople and armed forces into roles that fits their requirements. The jobs will initially be London based, but given the client base we hope that the structure will be easily transferrable to their global branches in time.

    As I mentioned though, we are just delving into the possibilities of expanding our coverage to particularly help people with disabilities. So if you have any guidance it would be hugely appreciated

    Thanks,
    T

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    Has anyone any suggestions? or are the support systems in place sufficient? Would really appreciate any feedback at all!

    Thank you,

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    There are no support systems in place specifically for disabled graduates, I started on a low paid job after graduating to get my foot in the door. 5 years on I'm earning more than double and with a a FTSE 100 company, pension and health benefits.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Access to Work Support

    The number one support system for all disabled people wanting to work is 'Access to Work' run by Jobcentreplus and it's a self-referral scheme.
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Disabled...mes/DG_4000347

    One of the main issues in any organisation is a lack of awareness and understanding on disabiliity issues by HR as well as managers - it's a training issue.

    Something I've seen time and time again is when a disabled person has been offered a job they assume the employer will have put things in place for when they start. For instance a dyslexic person may need computer software like 'Dragon Naturally Speaking' and perhaps a digital dictaphone to take notes. The new starter turns up on day one to find nothing is in place because the manager wasn't aware of the support available. Nine times out of ten they'll have to send the disabled person home, on full salary, for two or three weeks, while things are put in place - a waste of time and resources.
    The solution.
    If a disabled candidate is offered a position either verbally or in writing then that is the time to self-refer to 'Access to Work' and hopefully this ensures any disabling barriers to work are removed before they start.

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    Hey Paul & Light Touch,

    Thanks so much for the feedback. It really is much appreciated. I am glad to hear all is going well for you Paul .

    As I mentioned in the intro, our current business model targets ex armed forces and professional athletes - this includes injured soldiers and paralympians.We want to extend beyond this to target the most intelligent, driven graduates from UK based universities that have disabilities. We want to use our existing client base to facilitate internships/permanent placements for the top talent.

    I know there is a support system to student with disabilities called Disability Toolkit which provides information and advice on how best to secure work experience. Has anyone used their system?

    So going forward I'm thinking that we will approach the top universities initially explain our current model, our client base and our objective of branching out. From my research it seems that the Disability support teams in the individual universities would be the best to approach on the matter initially. It seems the careers services refer people with disabilities to the various links for information and support but don't have a specific structure in place to facilitate placements in jobs...please correct me if I'm wrong as this is just from an initial glance - I would love to understand graduates experiences with the University career and disability support process.

    We have the client base so we want to go about sourcing the talent in the best most efficient way possible.

    Light Touch - I have highlighted the benefit of the access to work support to my boss. He agrees that we should liaise closely with them throughout the placement process to ensure both candidates and clients get the most from the employement and are given the necessary tools to allow them a smooth transition into the working world.

    If you think there is a better/more appropriate way to go about setting up this third wing to our business model than I have outlined as my intention I would love to get any suggestions. Alternatively, if you think it sounds like we are on the right track that nod of approval would also be great,ha!

    Hope you both enjoyed the long weekend. Look forward to hearing from you.

    T

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