Coronavirus: information and updates

Employment and welfare

The quick read

  • 1,897 disabled people received support from our employment services and moved closer to or into work as a result.
  • 1,022 disabled people used our Support to Work service to find paid work.
  • 118 disabled people were supported through our newly launched Working on Wellbeing programme in Wales.
  • 1 million disabled people were supported with the skills and confidence to get and stay in work as part of our 5 year partnership with Virgin Media which ended in 2020.
  • We helped achieve a temporary increase in Universal Credit by £20 a week and are now pushing for this change to become permanent.

Bethany’s story

Bethany is 21 and has dyscalculia, dyspraxia and dyslexia. Because of her conditions, she struggled in previous employment, experiencing negative attitudes and poor support from employers

“Looking for work was a nightmare. I have dyspraxia, dyslexia and dyscalculia which has made it a bit difficult in terms of processing information and remembering things. I was also missing stuff, I wasn’t reading the job application properly or I was processing it in my head differently to what information was given.

I also have anxiety, so when I was looking for work, I got to a point where I was making myself physically ill because I was so stressed out about finding something.

I found out about Scope’s Working on Wellbeing service through my job centre. When I started the programme, my employment adviser was really supportive and patient. She didn’t make me feel like I’d done a bad job when we looked at my CV, and the changes she made were really helpful.

She recommended things for my anxiety as well. It wasn’t just about the disability, she was really trying to make a difference and I think she did. After talking to her I felt a lot more confident about the types of jobs I was applying for. And I felt a little bit more confident in myself."

I never would have applied for retail work because my anxiety was too bad, I couldn’t deal with busy customers. But I feel like I’m in a much better place and I feel a lot more confident now, so I applied for it and actually got the job.


Our employment support

We had to provide all our employment services online or by phone in 2020/21.

This new way of working, as well as starting a new employment service – Working on Wellbeing – helped us reach around 30% more people than in 2019/20.

Of the 1,897 disabled people we directly supported, 23% got jobs and 77% were closer to work when they left our service. Of those people who found work, 74% stayed in their job for at least 13 weeks. Disabled people often face barriers to staying in work, as well as getting into it. We’re taking action to improve this, for example by introducing tailored in-work support as part of our Support to Work service.

Support to Work

Support to Work is our online and telephone support programme for disabled people in England and Wales who are looking for paid work. Last year, we supported 1,022 disabled people, up by almost 40% from the previous year. In 2020/21, 215 people moved into work as a direct result of the programme.


Through our one-to-one support programme Kickstart, we also worked with 196 disabled people achieve their career goals. Of those, 77 moved into work, 14 were closer to work, and 40 were still in work 13 weeks after finishing the programme.

Starting Line

Our pre-employment training programme, Starting Line, supported 359 disabled people at the start of their journey into work – up by around 23% on last year. When they finished the programme, 24 people started work, 72 were closer to work, and 3 remained in their jobs.

Career Pathways

Advisers at our Deloitte-funded Career Pathways programme provided independent careers advice to 202 young disabled people. Of those, 97% said they had goals and plans for the future, 94% said they felt confident they would get a job, and all of them felt that lots of different options were now open to them.

Working on Wellbeing

In partnership with the Legacy International Group, we launched Working on Wellbeing – an employment training and support programme for disabled people in Wales. So far, we’ve supported 118 people – 14 started work, 10 were closer to work, and 4 remained in their current job as a result of the programme.

Working in partnership

We can’t achieve our goals alone. That’s why we’ve been working in partnership with lots of other organisations to champion more inclusive and accessible workplaces.

Through our bespoke Get Inclusive programme, we’ve been supporting 13 employers over the past year to be more inclusive in the way they recruit, retain and progress disabled employees.

Consulting firm Deloitte funds our Career Pathways service for young people. As part of our work together, 50 of their employees have been supporting disabled people through mentoring, workshops, and helping with interview preparation. In return, we’ve provided sessions to support their colleagues to open up conversations around disability in the workplace.

More than a million disabled jobseekers have had employment advice and support through our Support to Work service and online information, thanks to our partnership with Virgin Media.

Spotlight on #WorkWithMe and Support to Work

In 2020 our 5 year strategic partnership with Virgin Media came to an end. We’re delighted that we achieved our collective goal: to support 1 million disabled people with the skills and confidence to get and stay in work.

This milestone was delivered through Support to Work, our digital employment service and through our employment support and advice.

In addition, more than 100 companies have joined Scope’s free #WorkWithMe forum which is helping businesses to take accountability for how they employ disabled people and offers practical advice on how to improve the workplace and culture for disabled people.

16 of the 19 businesses we surveyed said being part of #WorkWithMe gave them more confidence in having conversations and taking positive action on disability inclusion within their organisation.

The #WorkWithMe network has been very supportive throughout our journey as we work towards creating an accessible culture at Hoxby. We hosted their first WWM webinar and we really enjoyed doing it! We love being able to share experiences and learnings together with each other in the WWM network. #WorkWithMe continues to offer advice, are in regular contact and provide a selection of resources to help members every step of the way.

Lizzie Penny, Co-Founder at Hoxby

Campaigning for employment equality and a fairer welfare system

Our Disability Employment Gap (DEG) map, launched last year, highlights the employment inequalities disabled people face across the country.

After speaking to 30 MPs about how to close the disability employment gap at our virtual parliamentary reception, we saw an increase in parliamentary questions on disabled people’s employment and support from MPs on social media. We also provided evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee’s DEG inquiry. This included personal experiences from 300 disabled campaigners.

Disabled people receiving welfare benefits had the opportunity to share their experiences of the system with The Minister of State for Disabled People at a meeting we helped organised.

Together with the Social Market Foundation, a cross-party think tank, we published a report setting out our vision for a better welfare system. We also supported a campaign to increase Universal Credit by £20 a week. The campaign led to a temporary increase, and we’re now pushing to get that made permanent.

Opens in a new windowOpens an external siteOpens an external site in a new window