The Disability Confident scheme is a government-run initiative which helps employers who have signed up to it recruit diverse talent.
In the UK, 18,000 organisations are part of the scheme which allows them to diversify their workforce, while helping improve attitudes to disability more widely and to encourage people with disabilities to apply for jobs that they may previously have felt were inaccessible for someone like them.
The scheme was created in 2014 to encourage organisations to advertise themselves as inclusive to jobseekers with disabilities, which in turn would allow them to recruit and retain talent which they may not have attracted otherwise – 7.7 million people of working age in the UK consider themselves to have some form of disability or long-term health condition.
In the long run, member organisations benefit from culture shifts for the better and can sustain a reputation as an employer of all types of people. This also benefits morale across all employees, as they evidence of their employer’s commitment to fairness in the workplace.
There are three levels of Disability Confident which allow the organisation to demonstrate progressive levels of commitment to nurturing talent among the disabled workforce.
Level 1 – Disability Confident Committed – requires an employer to demonstrate that they are committed to increasing diversity among their workforce through greater employment opportunities and recruitment initiatives to attract people with disabilities. Examples of this commitment include:
- Offering interviews to disabled candidates
- Supporting existing employees
- Creating internships for disabled people.
Upon fulfilling these requirements, an employer will receive a certificate and a badge to display on the company website, along with other resources to support the continuing commitment to the Disability Confident scheme.
Level 2 is Disability Confident Employer and involves the successful employment and retention of employees with disabilities.
Level 3 – Disability Confident Leader – involves an external assessor confirming the organisation’s satisfaction of the Level 2 criteria and a report created by the organisation itself to demonstrate ongoing commitment.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides information on how to go about employing disabled people and why this is advantageous for employers. This includes how to retain employees who have acquired a disability.
The DWP outlines the following as some of the advantages of advertising jobs and therefore recruiting from a more diverse talent pool:
- It increases the likelihood of securing the most talented and most well suited employees for the job
- It creates a workforce that reflects the diversity of the wider population or community
- It brings skills to the organisation, such as British Sign Language which could help improve client offering, communication with stakeholders, etc.
- Retaining a newly disabled employee will save on the cost of advertising the role and recruiting from scratch, as well as achieving job satisfaction and mental wellbeing from the point of view of the employee.
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