Disabled students launch unique guide to help kickstart careers

  • Charity’s pace-setting Change 100 students aim to share their success to expand employment opportunities for all
  • Guide launched today at business breakfast with top UK employers

leonard-cheshire-change-100Leading charity Leonard Cheshire Disability is launching a new career guide today aimed at supporting disabled students into work.

‘This is your future’ has been written and produced by disabled students on the innovative Change 100 work placement programme and is based on their own work experiences.

Change 100 is an employment scheme launched by the charity which places talented disabled students within some of the UK’s leading companies for three month work experience placements. It provides life-changing opportunities for disabled undergraduates to work for top employers.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mark Harper MP launched the guide this morning at a breakfast with leading employers and students hosted by SAB Miller.

Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, said:

“Leonard Cheshire’s Change 100 programme is a fantastic example of the difference that targeted support can make in helping disabled people to find work. The information provided in this guide will be invaluable to young disabled people starting out in their careers.

“With record employment and almost 700,000 vacancies in the economy today, employers should be making the most of the talent that exists amongst disabled people in this country. That isn’t just about doing what’s right, it’s about recognising that diverse workplaces are stronger workplaces.”

Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability, Clare Pelham said:

“At Leonard Cheshire we have understood the benefits of employing disabled people for some time. I believe that businesses that overlook disabled candidates are missing out on a wealth of skills and talent.

After the success of our first year of Change100 we were delighted that the participants wanted to share all the knowledge gained and create a guide for all disabled young people to kickstart their careers.

Things are beginning to change. If we can better equip disabled students with support and knowledge, we can advance the move towards a truly inclusive workforce, and ensure that disabled students are not left behind.”

The downloadable guide covers all the stages of getting a job including handy tips for the workplace such as:

  • When disclosing  a condition don’t be afraid to stress to employers the strengths that your disability can give you in the workplace – increased creativity, determination, versatility and any others that apply to you.
  • There will often be a dedicated volunteering programme within your university. Check out your university website or student services centre for more information.

This guide was created by a team of students on the first ever Change 100 programme. All members of the group are now continuing their studies or have found further work.

Karar Saeed is one of the Change100 participants who help to produce the guide. He said: “Change100 changed my life because it gave me the opportunity to get ready for the future and get prepared for the world of work. We hope that this guide helps other disabled students, like us, to have the confidence to apply for jobs and realise their full potential.”

Ollie Roberts, Director: HR, Group Corporate Offices and Global Functions at SABMiller plc, spoke at the event. SABMiller employed two Change100 students last year and are taking part in the programme again this year.

Ollie said: “We are proud to be part of Change100. I hope that disabled people looking for work can use this valuable guide to help them in their search.  I know from first-hand experience that it’s vital to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of society including each organisation’s customers and consumers”.

Latest figures show that the employment rate for disabled people is increasing and is now at a level of 45.6 per cent compared to 79.4 per cent for those not classified as disabled under the Equality Act.

To find out more visit: www.leonardcheshire.org/change100

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