Nearly seven million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a long-term health condition. That is almost one in five of us.
Young disabled people are particularly affected and they are being failed by our society. Many are struggling to get the advice, support and encouragement they need to enter the world of work.
Our new campaign — Untapped Talent — is calling on the government to recognise the untapped potential young disabled people bring to the workplace.
As part of the campaign, our research found:
- half (51%) of 18–30-year-old adults said their teachers may have had lower expectations of them because of their disability
- around half (47%) also said they were not encouraged to go on to a course or pursue their chosen career
This needs to change
At Leonard Cheshire Disability we believe all disabled people who want to work should have the opportunity to do so. But our research has found this isn’t happening at the moment and we will campaign to change this.
‘Despite all efforts, I have never been able to secure paid work through a mainstream internship or job application process that was not run for the benefit of or concerned with equal opportunities for people with disabilities.’
What you can do
Hayley takes part in Can Do, one of our programmes. Through Can Do, we work closely with young disabled people aged 10-35 and provide bespoke volunteering projects.
She said joining was one of the best choices she made in a while.
‘Before I found Can Do, I was feeling very lost. I found it difficult to find support to get onto a work placement and this was a big setback. Can Do gave me a new lease of life. It has really increased my confidence!’
We urgently need the government and employers to recognise the untapped talent young disabled people bring into the workplace. We want to increase the availability of programmes which help unlock the potential of young disabled people.
The more people who know about the challenges facing young disabled people in the workplace, the more we can do to fight these barriers together.
We know many of our campaigners successfully campaign in their local communities and we want to encourage and inspire more people to do so!
We have created a Campaigns Handbook to support you on your own campaigning journeys.