If the future me had wheeled into my pub at 24, sat me down and said your life is going to change in more ways than one. It might take you a few years to find your place within society and where you truly belong in this crazy world but you will.
When i was able-bodied my work world made sense, then when it was gone in a flash my world didn’t make sense anymore. I hadn’t gone to university or college i didn’t have a degree to fall back on, all i ever knew was the pub trade. It’s a scary place to be newly diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy and no job. But it didn’t have to be that way, it took me over a decade to just ‘fall into’ freelance work, and in a way you could say i have managed to find a second career with out even looking.
As a freelance writer and a person with muscular dystrophy, I want to inform people and hold those in power accountable. I also want to show that being disabled shouldn’t detract from anyone’s career goals.
It’s always the perfect opportunity to discuss the topic of jobs. Throughout this last year it has proven even more we still have a growing crisis when it comes to the disabled community and jobs. While the number of employed people with in the disabled community has grown slightly we still have many contributing barriers.
A lack of understanding and awareness is also a significant obstacle; nearly half of non-disabled people feel that they do not have anything in common with disabled people, in 2019 it was reported that 26 % admit to avoiding engaging in conversation with a disabled person.
There are one million disabled people in the UK who want to work but are not being given the opportunity. The new YouGov research focused on HR decision makers that revealed businesses are creating a disability employment crisis because of outdated attitudes and a failure to engage with the issue.
This doesn’t surprise me and i have spoken about this many times. We are all unique whether you are disabled or non-disabled no one person is the same, Yet while some jobs may accommodate one, they may not accommodate another. I can’t tell you how many jobs i’ve been interested in, but the description includes activities I just cannot do physically and any non-disabled person might overlook. I’m more than capable mentally, but any physical requirements adds a barrier.
When half of businesses that contributed to the survey say it’s easier to recruit a non-disabled person over a disabled person. It’s therefore unsurprising that the UK’s disability employment gap – the rate at which disabled people are employed compared to non-disabled people – hasn’t changed for more than a decade, with disabled people’s employment still stuck about thirty percentage points behind.
Just by making simple changes to make a job accessible that may make a world of difference for potential applicants.
Now obviously, a job in the fire service wouldn’t be the right fit. Nevertheless, if businesses where encouraged more to think about making the relevant changes for disabled people making the same job available for ALL to apply and also makes companies more productive and creative. If our experiences counts for anything, navigating life as a disabled person requires ingenuity, tenacity, and discipline. All factors employers look for.
It’s up to us to act, because having a job should be open to everyone, regardless of disability.
Have you faced barriers looking fir a job? Or have you had to create your own? Leave me a comment I would love to hear your thoughts.
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