HearFirst, a workplace training and consultancy company, is one of the first companies that have shown their support for a new government campaign that will help businesses become more confident about recruiting people with disabilities.
Launched in July at the UK’s first national Disability Employment Conference the campaign aims to encourage businesses to improve their employment outcomes for disabled people and support a new perspective on disability employment.
HearFirst, based in Lancashire, provide a full range of equality, diversity and disability related training courses to workforces in organisations across the UK. It’s director, Julie Ryder attended the conference and said: “We are honoured to be involved with and fully support the Governments ‘disability confident’ campaign. We work with many employers across the UK who have disabled employees and can deliver bespoke awareness and equality training to colleagues and line managers.”
Julie became profoundly deaf in her late twenties and struggled to retain employment. She said: “There wasn’t much relevant advice, information or support available to equip me, my line managers or colleagues with the skills and awareness we all needed to continue with a successful working partnership.
“I subsequently founded HearFirst to provide learning and development opportunities to organisations and support them as employers of disabled people or as service providers. Our aim has always been to give our course participants skills, confidence and knowledge so they can go back to their roles and understand how to meet the needs of people they meet who are deaf or disabled.
“We are thrilled that our aims are being supported at the highest level in Government and we are looking forward to being involved further as the Regional events take shape. The time is right for the UK to embrace this initiative.”
Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech at the conference and said: “I am delighted we are holding this first Disability Employment Conference and launching this new campaign to help employers become confident employing disabled people. This isn’t just about doing what is right for disabled people. Employing disabled people makes business sense too.
“We need to break the myth about the complexities of employing disabled people, or to put it more simply – to give employers confidence.”
Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said: “Last year’s Paralympics truly captivated the hearts of the nation and have undoubtedly helped shift attitudes and perceptions towards disabled people.
“And although the employment rates for disabled people have increased gradually over the years, there’s more we need to do as too often the talents of disabled people in the workforce are left untapped.
“The campaign will recognise the considerable talents disabled people have to offer and challenge some of the preconceptions around employing disabled people.”