Grampian above average in employment of disabled
But still a long way to go to achieve equal opportunities.
New research by Grampian Opportunities (GO) has shown that voluntary sector organisations in Grampian are doing better than nationally, when it comes to providing employment opportunities for disabled people.
But, the research goes on to say that, with relatively easy adjustments and with a range of support service, Grampian could do even better.
Of 32 voluntary sector organisations that employ disabled people, the GO Research findings reveal that disabled employees accounted for 5.4% of the total 1,800 employees. This is 80% higher than the 3% Scottish average for disabled employees in the voluntary sector.
Another encouraging fact to emerge from the GO Research is that almost a third (32%) of the Grampian organisations had disabled employees in management and senior positions.
Sandy Murray, Chairman of Grampian Opportunities believes that employers should see the advantages of taking on disabled employees:
“At a time when so many employers in the Grampian area are having substantial problems filling vacancies, providing real opportunities for disabled people has to be of potential benefit to both employers and disabled job seekers.”
The research has demonstrated that the adjustments needed to cater for disabled employees is, generally, relatively easy to implement. To get that message across we need to provide quality information, in plain English, and effective support.
“We will be seeking funding to set up a mentoring service that would provide practical and specific advice to employers and disabled potential employees about what needs to be done to cater for disabled employees. The idea would be to guide employers and employees through the process, step by step.”
Linda Singer, Development Worker with Grampian Opportunities added:
“The research shows that there are real benefits, not only for disabled people but for the organisations that employ them. The voluntary sector organisations in our research told us that making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees was remarkably easy to implement. They also said that a diverse workforce increased awareness, develops understanding and promotes good staff morale.”
The main funder for this GO Research project was Scottish Community Action Research Fund (SCARF), which is provided by Communities Scotland and managed in partnership with the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) to support community-led research.
Volunteers were recruited through a project supported by the Voluntary Action Fund and a level of matched funding which has taken the work beyond the basic research has come from EQUAL through a working link with Business Enterprise Scotland.
Grampian Opportunities provides support for people with disabilities or mental health issues who may need help in finding opportunities in employment, volunteering or in further education.
Copies of the full report and summary can be downloaded from the website but if you would like further information about the research or would like to get involved in taking forward some of the recommendations, contact Linda Singer, Grampian Opportunities for further information on 01467 629675.