Work and pensions secretary John Hutton announced a new scheme today to persuade employers to hire more disabled people.
The Employ Ability initiative, which will be piloted in Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester from September, will attempt to tackle negative assumptions about the skills of disabled workers and unfounded beliefs among employers that adaptations will be costly. It will also seek to demonstrate the benefits to business of hiring disabled staff and improve information on the issue for employers.
The government sees employing more disabled people as a way of reaching its targets of an 80% national employment rate and eradicating child poverty by 2020.
The official employment rate for disabled people is 50%, compared to 74% for the population as a whole, but the rate is much lower for groups such as people with learning disabilities.
A recent survey of HR professionals by Community Care, for our A Life Like Any Other campaign, identified key barriers to increasing employment among people with learning disabilities.
Among reasons cited for not employing people with learning disabilities, 88% of respondents said they did not target them in recruitment, 79% cited the need to adapt to accommodate them, and 68% claimed a lack of interest among managers.
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