If you have a disability or health condition, you might worry about looking for jobs or what you might find when starting work.
The good news is that many companies now recognise the importance of inclusion and diversity in their business, and the skills and experience disabled people bring with them. In fact, the changes that many businesses have made to ways of working during the pandemic – whether that’s remote working, greater use of technology or flexible working practices – present some real opportunities for disabled people, offering wider work and career choices.
But it’s still important to acknowledge it’s not always easy, and you may want some extra support in finding a new job that is right for you. Here are some pointers to get you started.
Be confident in looking for opportunities
Thousands of companies are members of the Disability Confident scheme. Being a Disability Confident employer means being committed to building an inclusive workplace and giving disabled people opportunities to thrive.
When you are looking for work, if you see a job you’re interested in, you’ll want to know all about a company before you apply. Finding out whether they are Disability Confident is a great start.
If you look for work using the Find a job website, you can search for Disability Confident employers in your region by selecting the Disability Confident filter. This allows you to focus on employers who have joined the Disability Confident scheme and are committed to employing people with disabilities or health conditions.
Most companies just want great people to fill their roles, and treat their staff fairly. So when you are researching a potential employer, check their website to see their equal opportunities policy or diversity statement. So when you are researching a potential employer, check their website to see their equal opportunities policy or diversity statement.
Extra support in finding work
If you have a disability or health condition and would like some additional support in finding a job, contact your local Jobcentre through the Contact Jobcentre Plus website and ask to be assigned a work coach. They will support you every step of the way in finding a job that is right for you.
They will be able to recommend employers in your area that are Disability Confident. If you need extra support to move into work, they may refer you to a specialist support programme for additional training and to assist you with managing your disability or health problem.
Support from the Work and Health Programme
If you have a disability which is affecting your ability to find a job; or face other barriers to getting a job, then the Work and Health Programme on the gov.uk website may be able to offer personalised support.
If eligible, you’d be assigned a key worker to give you personalised support based on your needs. They can help identify skills and employment needs, help you get prepared for work, and help with finding suitable opportunities when you’re ready. They’ll even keep supporting you for an initial period after you start a job.
To find out more about the Work and Health Programme, contact your local Jobcentre through the Contact Jobcentre Plus website.
Disabled people who face a combination of personal, health, and work-related challenges to finding a job, can also access extra help through the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme on the gov.uk website.
This might be suitable for you if:
- You have a disability and need personalised help to overcome the multiple challenges facing you moving into work
- You feel you are a year or more away from moving into work, without some additional support
If eligible, you’d be assigned a key worker and offered coaching to help build your independence, confidence and motivation, as well as work experience to help boost your career prospects. You will also be given up to 6 months of in-work support if you move in to work.
If you want to apply for help or find out more, then just get in touch with your local Jobcentre through the Contact Jobcentre Plus website.
Support once you have found work
Access to Work is a grant that can pay for specialist equipment, adaptations or support worker services to support you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings or getting help to and from work. Your workplace can include your home if you work from there some or all of the time. The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits.
You should talk to your employer about reasonable adjustments before you apply for Access to Work. You can also get extra mental health support through Access to Work.
Further information can be found about Access to Work can be found on Extra support or through your work coach.