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Employers work to promote greater awareness of disability inclusion

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Employers and recruiters joined minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, to encourage greater awareness and confidence in Britain’s workforce around inclusion and disability.

BT and E.ON Energy are leading on the UK's first combined recruitment industry initiative in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions.

The project will see the introduction of a framework for recruitment practice, from role creation and attraction through to assessment and beyond.

The launch this week at BT Centre, London, was hosted by director of people and policy at BT, Caroline Waters (pictured), and supported by E.ON HR director, Maria Antoniou. Guest speaker Maria Miller was also joined by Dan Biddle, a former construction professional who was injured in the 7/7 London bombings and now works in accessibility.

Eighteen per cent of working age people are disabled, but only 48% of disabled people are employed, as opposed to 78% of non-disabled people. Closing the loop represents a key financial factor in addition to driving the agenda for equality.

Miller, said: "Just under half of all disabled people are in work but we know about two in five disabled people of working age who are not in employment would like to work. And for many disabled people, true equality and independence in their lives is achieved through finding work and staying in those jobs.

"That is why bringing all these big companies together is an ideal opportunity to highlight the benefits of employing disabled people and get more disabled people into mainstream jobs, in every sector like everyone else."

Waters added: "Going through the ClearAssured process has been tremendously valuable to BT. The programme includes all the expert advice and guidance required to develop best practice, identify areas for improvement and to implement practical, effective change.

"Having these resources available online has made it easy for us to embed the assessment and development process right across our people supply chain, ensuring that candidates get the best experience wherever they enter our attraction process. Becoming 'proud to be' undoubtedly gives us the edge as an inclusive employer, but the ethos of continuous assessment and development engineered into the process means that we will keep on getting better."

Antoniou said: "Becoming 'Proud To Be' is an important milestone in our diversity journey, and one that reflects the hard work our teams have put in to adopting best practice in inclusive recruitment. The built-in 'feedback loop' allows us to continuously check our performance against candidates' own experiences, making sure that deeds match words and giving us every opportunity to embrace continuous improvement in all aspects of our recruitment strategies."