After young people highlighted equal opportunities and diversity as an important factor in the decision making criteria when choosing an employer, we wanted to brush up on our knowledge around the subject.
So, we attended an event run by Special Education Needs Employment Links (SENEL) which aimed to promote the benefits of employing young people with special education needs and disabilities.
SENEL is an international project that provides essential advice and information to help employers make the world of work accessible for young people with special education needs and disabilities.
During the event we heard from employers who had took on young people with special needs and disabilities.
Some of the key lessons from the stories we heard were:
- Work is not just work rather it helps build self esteem, confidence and a sense of identity
- Young people with special needs or disabilities often have specific skills and are both loyal and reliable
- Many of the employers gave examples of how they benefited from specific skills accessed when employing from a diverse group of people
- Employees and customers will appreciate you as an employer for supporting young people with special needs and disabilities
- You will also become an attractive employer for young people and become an employer of choice.
It was good to hear from the Department of Work of Pensions who were promoting their Access to Work grant which provides practical support for those with a disability, health or mental health condition. The grant helps people to start work, stay in work or move into self employment.
During the event, we were given handouts and links to free resources online.
Secondly, there was a passport to employment, a document designed to support a guided conversation which helps young people express their skills and helps an employer better understand a young person’s ability and attributes.