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Inclusion Scotland: ‘New focus needed to tackle disability employment gap in Scotland’

Monday April 30th, 2018

Despite millions of pounds being pumped into programmes aiming to assist disabled people into work the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people in Scotland persists, with disabled people in Scotland being half as likely to be employed as non-disabled people according to a unique report launched today by Inclusion Scotland (April 30th).Government Opportunities

Drawing on the views of disabled people themselves, “Situations Vacant: employerability and disabled people’s right to work”, makes the case for a major re-think of approaches to tackling the employment gap.

In particular the report calls for a shift in the over-riding focus on disabled people’s ‘employability’ – what disabled people need to do, and the support they need, to be more employable – towards ‘employerability’ – the willingness of employers to employ more disabled people and provide inclusive workplaces, and the support they need to do so.

The report, which will be presented to the First Minister at today’s Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace in Glasgow, outlines practical steps the Scottish Government and employers can take. The introduction of targets for employing disabled people in the Scottish public sector is seen as vital, particularly if target setting is built into public sector procurement and supply requirements, according to Inclusion Scotland.

Dr Sally Witcher, CEO of Inclusion Scotland explains:
“For far too long it has been assumed that what stops disabled people from working and progressing in work is some deficit to do with the disabled person themselves. Work programmes that are based on such assumptions have singularly failed to address the disability employment gap down the years. Yet the reasons disabled people are out of work may have nothing at all to do with lack of skills or education, a lack of ability to (self) manage a health condition, or a lack of confidence or motivation.

“As disabled people who fed into this report made abundantly clear this focus on our ‘employability’ fails to address the many avoidable barriers put in our path, such as unnecessarily inflexible work practices, employers failing to make reasonable adjustments to workplaces because of misplaced fear of costs; or lack of awareness, unwittingly discriminatory policies and practices and inaccurate assumptions about what we can or can’t do.”

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