Warrington Disability Partnership

Employable Me, a fascinating televised look at job search for people with disabilities

Competing for a job is never easy, more so when there are some added challenges to factor into the equation. But there's help to give you the boost you might need and WDP is one of those doing the helping.

I've spent a long time in the business of supporting jobseekers. For a fair bit of my career in senior operational management and policy work that was often focused around the design of employment programmes with employers where jobseekers with impairments and or the long term unemployed were given extra support that often allowed them to showcase their abilities rather than leave recruiters wondering about any disabilities or gaps in employment.

A high percentage of people who welcomed this kind of detail pre employment support made it through some very tough interviews and induction processes. Crucially those so doing also delivered enviable employment records, sustainable jobs and progression, not a bad outcome.

I asked Kevin Jackson from WDP's employment team what he felt made the difference for those with an impairment and / or long term unemployment record?

"Often life is about choice and control, when people are presented with options, they are in control then while maintaining support the individual can make steps to achieve their goals. All support needs to be agreed and built around the individual each person is unique. Here at WDP we can help by promoting choice and ownership of situations, “when someone has choice they are in control of the situation".
We always offer advice and guidance, depending on the contract terms and requirements, we offer long term support — long-term support is available to employers as well as the employees. In short these employer's may not know there is support, including funding available to help make minimal changes to prepare the workplace to make it suitable for employing the individual, this is through the Access to Work scheme, for the employee, long term support is available to ensure that people maintain stability, achieve and sustain in the work place."

So, the support can be there and it really does make a difference. But this tv programme had a wonderfully powerful message for anyone who doesn't get how tough the whole job search thing can be :

"Although each condition causes very different issues for each individual, the sheer exhaustion of trying to fit into our society, feeling misunderstood, vulnerable and severely stressed, is all consuming."

"Employable Me" pulls few punches and as a tv documentary it sometimes feels a lot more like a drama, but the point is well made. look beyond the obvious, delve a little, be patient, and despite what may be some apparently tough additional challenges, jobseekers with a disability will often surprise at interview and show real depth. Ability not disability may be an old saying but it still hold true in today's ultra competitive labour market.

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About the author

Mark Wilson was a trustee on the WDP Board for five years, and a social media management lead until 1st May 2017. Mark's personal blogging website, The Blue Badge Blog, covers a wide range of disability issues, particularly accessible travel.

12th May 2016