Tackling the Disability Employment Gap in Scotland

Around 40% of working age disabled adults are in employment, compared with more than 80% of adults with no disability.

The Scottish Government’s A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People sets out a key ambition to ensure disabled people are able to participate fully in paid employment, enabling their talent and abilities to enrich Scotland. 

The context

Key actions include reducing barriers to employment and reducing by at least half, the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the working population.

This year we have seen the launch of Scottish Government campaigns to tackle employment barriers which encourages businesses to recognise the benefits of employing people with disabilities. Similarly, at UK level, efforts to tackle the disability employment gap are ongoing, demonstrating a strong commitment to ensuring inclusion in employment for those with disabilities. 

The event 

Nearly a year on from the launch of A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People this policy briefing will examine the policy and practice landscape of disability and employment, focusing on tackling the disability employment gap in Scotland. 

On 30 November we will examine the latest policy developments aimed towards tackling the disability employment gap, share learning around what more can be done on the ground and by employers across all sectors, and share examples of existing good practice. 

Key issues to be addressed

  • The Scottish Government's policy priorities for tackling the disability employment gap
  • Progress nearly a year on from a Fairer Scotland for Disabled People
  • The introduction of Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland and looking ahead to 2018
  • Building skills through part-time work, training and apprenticeships 
  • The visibility of disability in the workplace
  • Inclusive recruitment processes including the accessibility of information and staff disability awareness
  • Creating a positive attitude and greater understanding amongst employers across all sectors towards disabled people and their potential as employees
  • Improved awareness and understanding of workplace discrimination, prejudice and barriers to employment faced by disabled people

Agenda*

09:30   Registration and Refreshments 

10:00   Welcome and Introduction from the Chair 

           Kate Sang, Professor of Gender and Equalities, Heriot-Watt University

10:00  Session 1: Policy Context and Overview 

10:00   Disability Employment Policies in Scotland

  • Progress nearly a year on from employment actions of A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People 
  • Future policy priorities for disability and employability in 2018 and beyond
  • Current programmes and support for tackling the disability employment gap
  • The introduction of Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland 
  • Promoting greater awareness and uptake of the Access to Work programme 

Adam Reid, Head of Employability Policy, Scottish Government

10:30  Disability Employment Services in Scotland

  • Work Choice and Work First Scotland
  • The current provision of programmes and priorities for future services
  • Helping disabled people get the experience and skills they need to find and stay in work
  • Working with employers and partner organisations

    Alistair Kerr, Director of Partnerships Scotland, Shaw Trust 

11:05   Questions and Discussion

11:30   Refreshments and Networking 

12:00  Session 2: Panel Discussion: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Tackling the Disability Employment Gap 

  • What are the main challenges facing all employers and are these challenges the same across public, private and third sector?
  • The visibility of disability in the workplace
  • Inclusive recruitment processes
  • Creating a positive attitude and greater understanding amongst employers across all sectors towards disabled people and their potential as employees
  • Improved awareness and understanding of workplace discrimination, prejudice and barriers to employment faced by disabled people

Jamie Rutherford, Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS) and Director of Employment, ENABLE Scotland

Bela Gor, Head of Campaigns, Resources & Legal, Business Disability Forum

Phyl Meyer, Employability and Civic Participation Team Manager, Inclusion Scotland

Irene Bonnar, Head of Work and Wellbeing, NHS Borders

13:00   Networking Lunch 

13:50   Session 3: Good Practice Case Studies 

Examples of existing good practice surrounding work to tackle the disability employment gap including the perspective of both employers and disabled people 

      Case Study: Employment Opportunities for Disabled Graduates in Scotland

  • The NHS Scotland Internship Programme
  • Disabled graduate traineeships in NHS Boards and Special Boards in Scotland
  • The Professional Careers Programme
  • Delivering on career aspirations and the support GCIL provide
  • My experience: the stories of our graduates

    John Speirs, National Development Manager, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living, Equality Academy

Case Study: Unlocking Talent: SPAEN's Employ{my}Ability Programme

  • Joining up the journey to employment from the dream to the desk and beyond
  • Improving well-being through the programme
  • How the programme has helped ME – a user’s journey

    Colin Millar, CEO, Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN)

Case Study: Accessible Fife: Improving Access to Apprenticeships for People with Disabilities

  • A partnership approach to supporting people - the challenges and opportunities
  • Pre-apprenticeship 'Academy' prior to interview and recruitment 
  • Working with employers 

          Stuart Don, Senior Disability Employment Coordinator, Fife Council 

15:00   Questions and Discussion 

15:30   Close of Event 

*Agenda subject to change

Venue

Scottish Arbitration Centre, 125 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4AD | Map

Costs

Delegate rates (excluding VAT)

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

Who should attend

This briefing will be of most benefit to those working in employment services or with disabled people including:

  • welfare, revenue and benefit officers and job centre representatives;
  • welfare to work services and contractors;
  • employers from private, public and third sector, namely diversity and inclusion, equality, hr and recruitment teams;
  • advice and support groups and charities and third sector organistions
  • local authorities;
  • skills and training providers

For individuals who wish to attend, but face cost barriers (i.e. undergraduate/college students, the unemployed or retired) subsidised places can usually be made available on request. If you think you would qualify for one of these places please email with your status and the name of the event. 

Contact information

 enquiries@holyrood.com | 0131 285 1635​

Dates
30 November 2017

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