Through Disability Confident, tens of thousands of employers are challenging the common misconceptions and attitudes towards disability. These employers are removing the barriers to disabled people securing and maintaining employment. They work to ensure that disabled people have equal opportunities to fulfil their role successfully and reach their future potential.
What is the Disability Confident Scheme?
The Disability Confident Scheme is a government scheme that encourages businesses to become more disability-friendly. There are over 20,000 UK businesses registered with the scheme, with new businesses joining every day. The scheme is voluntary and access to guidance, good practice and resources are completely free. The Disability Confident scheme supports employers like you to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to your workplace.
Advantages of Joining the Disability Confident Scheme
Disability Confident supports employers to recruit and retain disabled people. Joining the scheme will help your business to:
- Draw from the broadest possible pool of talent
- Secure high-quality employees who are skilled and hard-working
- Improve employee morale, commitment and loyalty by demonstrating that you treat all employees fairly
Disability Confident also enables job seekers, customers, and other businesses identify those employers who are committed to diversity and accessibility in the workplace. Being Disability Confident could help you discover someone your business just can’t do without.
Whether an employee has become disabled during their working life, or you’re looking for new recruits, being Disability Confident can help your people fulfil their potential and contribute fully to your team’s success.
By being Disability Confident, you’ll also be seen as leading the way in your business sector and beyond, helping to positively change attitudes, behaviours and cultures.
How to Apply for the Disability Confident scheme
Signing up for the disability confident scheme is quick and easy. To apply simply visit the government website and fill in the application form provided. The application process is simple, just follow the prompts and instructions through each stage.
The Three Levels of Disability Confident
The Disability Confident scheme has three levels of support to see employers through every stage of the journey to becoming disability-inclusive. All employers join the scheme at level 1 (Disability Confident Committed). Employers must complete each level before qualifying to move on to the next.
Level 1: Disability Confident Committed
It is a simple, fast and straightforward process for employers to become Disability Confident Committed. You will need to agree to the Disability Confident commitments and identify at least one action that you’ll carry out to make a difference for disabled people.
You won’t be alone in signing up for the scheme, with thousands of companies already signed up, including the charity Age UK and football club AFC Wimbledon, who are only two of the recognisable names already registered as disability confident committed businesses.
The commitments are:
- Inclusive and accessible recruitment
- Communicating vacancies
- Offering an interview to disabled people
- Providing reasonable adjustments
- Supporting existing employees
The activities include (employers must identify at least one):
- Work experience
- Paid employment
- Job shadowing
- Student placements
It is likely your business is already following the commitments and activities expected to become Disability Confident employers. By registering with Disability Confident, you will receive a certificate in recognition of your achievement and a badge which can be used for your website for three years.
Level 2: Disability Confident Employer
Disability Confident Employers take extra steps to ensure disabled people get a fair chance. Employers can progress from Disability Confident Committed to Disability Confident Employer through self-assessing your organisation around two themes:
- Getting the right people for your business
This includes ensuring that your business is actively attracting and recruiting disabled people to fill available opportunities. Your business will also make sure to provide a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process. This could include offering a guaranteed interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the job.
- Retaining and developing your employees
This includes supporting employees in the management of their disabilities at work, ensuring there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff, and informing managers so they can support employees who are unwell or absent from work.
Employers will receive a certificate and badge for use on their website, as well as an information pack on how to progress to Disability Confident Leader. Organisations that have already reached disability confident employer status include Aberdeen City Council and Aberystwyth University.
Level 3: Disability Confident Leader
Employers that step up to become a Disability Confident Leader act as champions within the local and business communities. These employers play an important role in encouraging and supporting other businesses in their supply chain or network to become Disability Confident.
To become a Disability Confident Leader, your business will need to:
- Have someone outside of your business validate your self-assessment
- Provide a short narrative to show what your business has done or will be doing to support your status as a Disability Confident Leader
- Confirm you are employing disabled people
Huge companies such as Channel 4 and Coca-cola are just some of the organisations to have made it to level three of the disability confident scheme, setting an example for other employers to follow.
How can Careers with Disabilities Support your Disability Confident Journey?
Joining Careers with Disabilities is a great way to show your commitment to Disability Confident. One of our goals is to help employers to be as disability-inclusive as possible and find ways to share that with the world. Our site has the resources and tools your business needs to take the lead on disability inclusivity and show job seekers how much you care.
After successfully registering as Disability Confident Committed, businesses can progress up to the next levels known as Employer and Leader. Careers with Disabilities can help employers fulfil the commitments needed to progress through the scheme. In particular, for employer’s keen to progress from Disability Confident Committed to Disability Confident Employer. Using our company profiles and job board service will demonstrate your business is:
- Actively attracting and recruiting disabled people to help fill opportunities
- Advertising vacancies and other opportunities through organisations and media aimed, particularly at disabled people.
These are the criteria you need to move from level to level, and build your confidence! To find out the ways you can join our network, browse our services. Or for more information, simply get in touch.
To learn more about Disability Confident, and to register your business, visit the government website. Employers that take steps to improve accessibility in their workplace are eligible to apply for government funding; visit our dedicated funding pages to find out more.