Working to improve employment prospects for disabled people

Cllr Tristan Chatfield, cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality, talks about how organisations across Birmingham and the wider region can work together to improve employment prospects for disabled people

I am proud to say that Birmingham City Council is a signed-up Disability Confident member  – this means we are committed to ensuring that we improve employment opportunities for all our communities.

Disability Confident was launched by the Government in 2013, with the intention of encouraging employers to improve work opportunities for disabled people in the UK.  So far, nationally over 1,000 employers have signed-up to Disability Confident - with numbers increasing steadily. 

Birmingham, alongside the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and the West Midlands Combined Authority, has set out its vision and aspiration for skills within our Employment and Skills Plan. 

As partners we have clearly outlined in our plan that in boosting the employment rate we also want to reduce the employment rate gaps for disabled people, ethnic minorities and other groups which struggle to find jobs. The city is committed to halving the disabled employment rate gap over the next five years. In Birmingham this will mean helping 19,000 disabled people either stay in work or find work.

Around 17% of working age people in the UK have a disability, and the latest figures show that employment prospects for disabled people are improving. There are now more than 3.3 million disabled people in employment, up 365,000 over the past two years. 

But there is still more to do and I want to encourage organisations across the city and region to sign up to be a Disability Confident employer.  I met a number of employers today who have already pledged their support and, alongside colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions, we helped businesses understand what support and resources are available, what benefits there are for being a more inclusive employer and how they can share information with other businesses.

There are disabled people out in the community who have skills and experience that we can all benefit from – it is important to remember that this is a two-way street. As businesses in the city we can work collectively to reduce the disability employment gap by creating more employment opportunities that will allow us to take advantage of the skills and talent of disabled people.

This blog was posted on 14 September 2017

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