A new campaign launched this week to support employers to increase diversity and inclusion within the workplace by offering opportunities to disabled people looking for work.
ENABLE Works, the largest specialist provider of skills and employability services in Scotland, is forging the way for businesses to include everyone as part of a drive to create a more inclusive society and workforce.
ENABLE Works Corporate Partnership will encourage businesses and their leaders to recognise the clear benefits of diversity in the workplace. The team will provide employers with specialist support to identify their goals in terms of inclusion and offer recommendations, specific to their organisation, along with training and support to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Already, ENABLE Works supports more than 2,000 of Scotland’s employers across a variety of sectors including companies like Balfour Beatty, Diageo, ScottishPower, Strathclyde University Business School and STV.
A diverse workforce is also good for business with many companies losing out as they are unable to engage large parts of society either as a customer or an employee.It is estimated UK businesses lose £2billion a year by not being accessible to disabled customers or meeting their needs.
With more than one million disabled people in Scotland, of which 16% are of working age, the charity hopes to encourage like-minded organisations to make inclusion a priority for their business, increase the number of disabled people in their workplace, and ultimately support a more inclusive society.
Ashley Ryan, Director of ENABLE Works, is urging companies to work with her team to break down barriers to employment as well as offering the necessary support.
“Our offer comes at a pivotal time when many companies are revisiting how they operate. This presents us with an opportunity to encourage a more diverse workforce which we know is better for society as well as being good for business. Companies need to reflect the communities in which they serve and we can help them to achieve this.
“Statistics show an inclusive working population boosts employee satisfaction, retention rates and can lead to higher productivity and profitability, showing that cultural change goes well beyond company policies. We provide practical solutions to employers to tap into this diverse pool of talent and break down barriers to employment for disabled people.”
Companies providing this support include Diageo which is a corporate partner receiving training to be forward-thinking and inclusive.
Claire McKendrick, Diageo’s Operations Manager, said:
“I’ve noticed a real difference in people, who are thinking and acting differently around others and driving us to be an inclusive workforce. We should be mirroring the communities we work in across all our locations.”
Liam Coyleis one employee who has seen the benefits of the work completed through Diageo’s partnership with ENABLE Works.
“Progressing through the internship, I thrived, especially during the busy periods. It has made me confident within myself and taught me how to tell myself that I can do this no matter how many people say – you can’t do that because you have issues. It’s made me mature into the person I am that I believe all people are equal, disability or otherwise.”
Employer ScottishPower believes working with ENABLE Works has helped them to innovate as a business by attracting new talent.
Mairi Elder, Social Projects and Sector Education Manager added:
“Inclusion and diversity fosters innovation and creativity and brings us closer to the communities we serve. At ScottishPower, we work to attract diverse talent while developing a workplace that is supportive and open to everyone. We’re proud to support ENABLE Works and would encourage other businesses to come on board.”
Another supporter of ENABLE Works is STV. The organisation has provided placement opportunities to enable young disabled people to gain work experience in the media industry as well as building a more positive and inclusive culture within the organisation.
Suzanne Burns, HR & Communications Director, said:
“At STV, we’re focused on creating an inclusive culture where colleagues can thrive in their working environment to perform at their best. We’re so pleased to continue our close relationship with ENABLE Works going forward. Our experience of providing placement opportunities and enabling young disabled people with a route into employment is hugely valuable not only to those taking part but to all of us at STV.”
ENABLE Works is the largest specialist provider of education, skills and employability programmes in Scotland. Already the team delivers support to 4500 people each year across 27 local authority areas.
To join like-minded inclusive companies as a corporate partner today or to find out how your organisation can support those living with disabilities, contact ENABLE Works.