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'Meaningful opportunities' needed for disabled graduates

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Only talking about policies for disabled graduates is "not good enough" and employers should be taking action to create meaningful opportunities, according to SABMiller director: HR, corporate offices Ollie Roberts.

Roberts told HR magazine disabled graduates are an "underutilised" source of talent for companies, but admits the recruitment and onboarding process can be challenging.

"It can be quite daunting for organisations to think about employing people with disabilities," he said. "There is a nervousness around needing to create a safe environment and managing them in a way that is respectful and equal yet takes account of the individual needs that they might have."

SABMiller is working with disability charity Leonard Cheshire on the Change100 programme – designed to connect young disabled talent with business. Roberts believes these projects are important to support the careers of young disabled workers.

"It is not good enough to talk about the policies you may have for disabled employees," he said. "What really makes a difference is creating meaningful opportunities for disabled graduates. It benefits the organisation as well as all employees and allows them to build meaningful and successful commercial careers.

"The interns go through the same selection process as any other able-bodied employee, are hired on merit and above all have the same ambitions as their able-bodied colleagues. They just happen to live with a disability – and that shouldn’t be a reason for them not to succeed."