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Ready Devon

Meet Ben—He’s kind, committed and qualified, so why isn’t he employed?

Ever considered what your recruitment process is like for someone with Autism?

Did you know that less than 50% of people with disabilities are in employment? In fact, across Devon there are thousands of people who are skilled, ready and able to work. So what’s holding them back? For some it can all come down to how challenging the recruitment process can be. Likewise, for employers it can be challenging to understand the range of different disabilities there are and how to help people in each individual situation.

Did you know?

  • 77% of the public think more highly of companies that make an extra effort to employ people with a disability.

    Source: Mencap Factsheet 1—Charity Awareness Monitor, September 2004
  • People with a learning disability stayed in their job 3.5 times longer than their non-disabled co-workers.

    Source: Mencap 'Good for Business' - Beyer and Beyer 2017
  • 83% of people acquire their disability while in the work place.

    Source: Disability Confident

Why it’s time to start making the recruitment process more inclusive

Take Ben for example. Just like many other people, Ben has big ambitions. His dream job would be to work with trains and he aspires to one day work as a conductor, but he knows it will take training and perseverance to get there.

For now, he’s happy to be volunteering at a café in Exeter. He’s been working there every week on a Monday for the past two years and rarely takes any time off. He’s built up wonderful relationships with the customers, is a hard worker and he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to stay.

He’s also had the opportunity to build his work experience. He’s worked in a travel shop at Exeter bus station for a couple of days, where he enjoyed helping people to find the right buses. And he spent some time at his old secondary school, working behind reception and in an admin role.

“I was mostly writing on the computer, looking at newsletters and making amendments to them with the help of someone else. I really enjoy working with computers and I’m quite good at Microsoft Word and Excel.”

With 4 GCSE’s, Vocational Studies, a Level 1 Diploma in Business Studies and a strong history of work experience, Ben’s more than qualified to start looking for paid work, but he’s concerned about his ability to cope during the recruitment process.

“I worry that employers might not understand my Autism. I’ve had interviews before and I get really nervous. I struggle to answer questions and I worry that I may get asked questions that I don’t understand. It would actually really help if employers explained things to me step-by-step to break it down a bit. A more informal environment would help too, like having the interview take place in a coffee shop.”

Ben has so much going for him. He’s committed, kind and always wants to do his best. He likes wearing smart clothing and uniforms, because he wants to look presentable too. And for employers, these qualities all count. Employing someone like Ben means having a stable and reliable employee in your business.

Ben has his own advice for employers out there who might be thinking about how to open up their business to employ more disabled people.

“I think it’s important to be open-minded and to look at people’s qualities and ability to do a job. I’d encourage employers to keep people with disabilities in mind, because we have a lot of potential.”

Want to support your local community and help people with disabilities into work? Ask to be contacted by a Jobcentre Plus local Employer Advisor.