Scope – Work With Me campaign

Scope is a charity existing to make the UK a place where disabled people have equal rights and opportunities in society. It offers information, shares participants’ stories, and launches media campaigns to raise awareness.

Scope’s recent video campaign ‘#WorkWithMe’, aims to address the fact that as many as 1 million disabled people, who can and want to work, are unemployed.

Scope’s videos interview disabled people, many of whom have already worked hard to get a degree at university, only to be turned down when it came to applying for a job.

https://www.scope.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/employment/work-with-me

Scope aims to change this by raising awareness of the issue, so that potential employers can realise the benefits of employing people with disabilities. One of Scope’s interviewee’s, Marie(read Marie’s post here) said “I think a lot of employers don’t want to hire a disabled person because they don’t understand disability and they just want the ‘perfect’ person.” Marie has brittle bones and uses a wheelchair, and believes that employers should “just give someone a chance and think about what they can do, not what they can’t do.” She implored employers not to treat her any differently, saying “I’ve had many different jobs and at times I felt like I was being treated like a child because employers didn’t allow me to use my skills and knowledge.” [1]

Josh, a wheelchair user, (read Josh’s post here) suggests that the fact that 1 million disabled people who want to be employed but can’t find work is “a real scandal and a real loss of potential”. He found the process of applying for work a stressful experience, believing that “Support from the Jobcentre doesn’t really work for disabled people because it’s a very standard process, they’re not offering bespoke support.” He’s reported feeling “quite intimidated bringing up my adjustment needs with potential employers because you just think ‘Well, if they find somebody who can do the typical 9-5, they’ll go for them.'”[2] Potentially many other disabled people don’t even tell their employers about important access adjustments they need, such as screen reading software, rest breaks, or days off, because they think the employer then won’t hire them.

Charlotte Jukes (read her post here), now a qualified teacher, (read Charlotte’s post here) said that she tried not disclosing the fact she had Fibromyalgia since 2002 on her CV to see what happened. She was offered a teaching job, at a time when her symptons ‘weren’t affecting [her] as much,’, however when her pain and arthritis started to get worse, she had to ask for help – and was given it. “When I told the Head Teacher that I was struggling, she referred me to occupational health. They made adaptations to make things easier. Things like a trolley for carrying books and special seats. That was great. I was very lucky there.”

Employers may believe they need to spend more money on assistive technology and adaptations for a disabled applicant. However, Lauren (read her post here) points out that her equipment is “provided through Access to Work. It doesn’t cost my employer anything.”

Scope also have a series of other blog articles on the subject, including an article about what governments plan to do in order to tackle the issue of disabled people out of work. Click here to read it.

References:

[1] – Scope, “Marie: I was told, ‘we don’t have any jobs for people like you'”
[2] – Scope, “Josh: If you’re disabled, finding a job can be a difficult experience”
[3] Charlotte: “As soon as I stopped ticking the ‘disabled’ box, I got interviews”


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