Campaigners calling for growing disability employment gap to be addressed by the government

Braden Wilkinson tells ITV News Central why he thinks there is a disability employment gap


A man from Staffordshire says he is struggling to get a job because he can't find a disability confident employer.

Braden Wilkinson has cerebral palsy and is trying to find a job in conservation.

For the last year he has received help from The Shaw Trust, completing courses and putting forward applications yet he has not been able to secure a role, despite vacancies in the sector.

In an interview with ITV News Central Mr Wilkinson said: "I feel that the barriers are definitely there when looking for a job online.

"Sometimes they don't give disability categories. So the jobs that come up are working with disabled people rather than jobs for disabled people.

"What employers need to do is get to know the disabled person through a zoom or a Skype or something like that to get to know the employee so they can get to know what they can and can't do.

"I think there is a big employment gap because I think employers are nervous."

He added that he believes workplaces need to do more to make offices more accessible for everyone.

New research shows that just 52 percent of disabled people are employed, compared with 81 percent of non-disabled people.

When it comes to wages, disabled workers earn around £12 an hour - compared to £14 for those without disabilities.

Campaigners are calling on the government to step in and address this gap.

Alice Evans from Loughborough is blind and has a podcast called lABLEd providing insight into disability and difference.

She says she thinks employers need to focus on the work a person can do, rather than focusing on the fact they have a disability.

In an interview with ITV News Central Mrs Evans said: "I think for disabled people the barriers for finding a job are very similar to the sorts of barriers we face in wider society.

"It's battling against peoples misconceptions and this belief that I think people have that disabled people are not capable or not hard working, and weird or unusual."

She added that the best way a lot of her friends have been able to get into work is through networking and having an existing connection with employers because of preconceptions.

Mrs Evans added: "I think that a lot of employers are very nervous or unwilling to consider the accommodations that disabled people need to be able to engage in employment.

"I think a lot of employers think they are going to have to really drastically change their practices and their systems, when really the key to enabling disabled people into work is about reasonable adjustments."

She added: "A lot of people are very worried about asking what help and adjustments people might need and not understanding that there are things in place that should support and facilitate disabled people into work."

The Minister for Disabled people says 1.3 billion pounds is being invested over the next spending review period to support disabled people and those with health conditions, to start and succeed in jobs.