West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas recently hosted an event designed to encourage employers to take on people with disabilities.
Working with the Department for Work & Pensions, the Disability Confident event at Marazion Community Hall showcased to employers how people with a disability can make a major contribution to business success and challenged negative attitudes to disability employment.
Employers who turned up – including Morrisons, Tesco and the Tree Care Group – were serenaded by the Marazion School choir before meeting a range of organisations that represent people with disabilities and hearing about the benefits that they can bring to the workplace.
“Disabled people make up almost 20% of the working age population but employers can be reluctant to employ them, missing out on a valuable pool of potential and skills,” said Mr Thomas.
“There are many myths about disabled people taking more days off sick, costing money to have workplace adjustments and creating a fear of discrimination claims but all of these assumptions are incorrect.
“In many ways, this event at Marazion was the start of a journey as we look to reduce the enormous gap between the numbers of able-bodied in work and the number of people with disabilities who are in employment.
“Employers were able to find out what is available in terms of support and could also access some very useful information in terms of sharing best practice.”
Among the speakers, Morrisons recruitment manager Malvina Jenkin spoke about the company’s efforts to encourage people with disabilities into working for them while Hannah Bird, who is hard of hearing, gave a case study of what it is like to work with a disability.
Martin Williams, from Jobcentre Plus, outlined the Disability Confident scheme and his colleague, Mike Dann, explained what Jobcentre Plus can offer in terms of help for employers who take on people with disabilities.