I'm 45 and have worked almost ever since I left university 22 years ago, and I think this is quite an achievement considering I have a moderate disability. I enjoy work because it helps me to have a great social life and I like the people I work with. But for lots of people with a disability getting or staying in work is a real difficulty.
Scope is launching the Work With Me campaign today to try and try and change attitudes of employers and job seekers too. I have quite a number of friends who have disabilities who are my age but have NEVER....NEVER worked. I even know someone who has two degrees who has really struggled to find employment.
How can technology help disabled people find work?
Regular readers of our blogs will be aware that there is technology out there that can help people succeed at their work. Last week I was talking to some job seekers who seemed to think that they could never get work because they had a mental health issue. I tried to explain to them that having a disability shouldn't actually stop you from being a real asset to an employer, but I could see that they weren't that convinced. For me it has never been about earning money but I get a real sense of achievement too from helping people.
Getting your foot in the door of employment is really difficult. I found that when I was first looking for work but I kept myself busy with volunteering so I could show a potential employer what I was capable of. Once you get your first job things can often be quite difficult at first. If you feel that you need any changes to be made at work, or further support we'd certainly advise you to fill out a Clear Talents profile and this could start a discussion between you and your employer so that they can help you make the most of your career.
We definitely support the work that Scope is doing to help end the awkwardness of employing disabled people.
How can AbilityNet help?
AbilityNet provides a range of services to help disabled people and older people with technology and communications.
- Call our free Helpline on 0800 269 545 and our friendly, knowledgeable staff will offer one-to-one help.
- If you are in work your employer has a responsibility to make Reasonable Adjustments which include helping you with invisible illnesses. Find out more about how we help disabled in the workplace.
- Arrange a home visit from one of our amazing AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.
- We have a range of factsheets which talk in detail about technology that might help you, which can be downloaded for free. You may find our factsheets talking about computers and vision impairment useful
- My Computer My Way is our free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tables and smartphones.