Tips for employment and jobseeking

Negotiating the world of work can seem like a difficult challenge if you're a disabled person. Fortunately there are many resources that you can draw on to make things a little easier, whether you're currently experiencing difficulties at work or you're looking for a job. Read on for our top tips on employment and jobseeking.

 1. Know your legal rights

The law that protects disabled job seekers is the Equality Act 2010. This Act requires employers to remove barriers for disabled employees. You can read the Government’s guidance on the Equality Act here, but the most important points relating to disabled people in employment are:

  • A person is classed as being disabled if they have an impairment, physical or mental, which has an adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry out everyday workplace activities.
  • As a disabled person you are legally protected under the Act from four types of discrimination:
    • Direct discrimination – In which you are treated less favourably in the workplace than others because of your disability.
    •  Indirect discrimination – The creation of workplace rules or procedures which disadvantage disabled people.
    • Harassment – When ‘unwanted behaviour’ related to your disability ‘violates [your] dignity or creates an offensive environment’.
    • Victimisation – If you are treated unfairly after having made a complaint about any of the above.

2. Stand up for your rights

If you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed in the workplace then the first step to take, is to approach your employer with a complaint. It may be possible to rectify the matter informally at this point, but if not then you may want to get in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice branch to discuss further action.

If the matter is not dealt with satisfactorily, you may wish to consider making a claim to an employment tribunal.

The Equality Advisory and Support Service is a useful source of advice if you’ve been discriminated against or harassed because of your disability.

3. Ask for adjustments if necessary

All employers in the UK are required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled workers are not disadvantaged when carrying out their jobs. This may include things like installing wheelchair ramps, providing specialist equipment or making changes to working processes.

If you feel that there are adjustments which could address issues that you have at work, note them down and then request a meeting with your manager or someone from HR to discuss them. Bring your notes with you and clearly explain what you are finding difficult and what you think might be the solution. At the meeting, aim to agree on specific actions that can be taken, and timescales for these.

The Government’s Access to Work grant can also help to pay for practical support in employment and when jobseeking.

Finding a job

4. Use all available resources to find a job

You’re first point of call when looking for work should be to book an appointment with the Disability Employment Adviser at your local job centre.

When looking for a job, you can of course look for job vacancies on sites like indeed.co.uk, monster.co.uk and totaljobs.com. But there are also websites and organisations which are specifically designed to offer jobseeking help and vacancies for disabled people such as Disability Jobsite, EvenBreak and Remploy.

You can also use Scope’s Employment pages to find employment services near you, and to access more information about jobseeking as a disabled person. You can find general information resources which may help with your job search on the AdviceLocal website.

The National Careers Service may be able to offer you some advice on getting a job.

5. Look for a job at Scope

All Scope's volunteering and paid positions are listed on our website. Plus you can always contact your local Scope shop directly to see if they have any openings.

6. Try volunteering

If you’re currently looking to enhance your work experience and CV, or ease back into work, you might consider volunteering. Scope has many volunteer roles around the country, including in our shops.

Most charities offer volunteering opportunities on their websites, and you can find organisations and roles local to you using websites like Do-it and Volunteering Matters.

7. Look for the ‘two ticks’ symbol on job advertisements

When you’re looking for suitable employers, keep an eye out for employers that display the ‘Two ticks - positive about disability’ symbol. This means that they have agreed with Jobcentre Plus to undertake five commitments regarding the employment and training of disabled people. These include interviewing all disabled applicants who meet the minimum role criteria, and providing disability awareness training to all employees.

8. Consider being self-employed

If you’ve got skills or experience that people and organisations need, you might consider offering your services on a self-employed basis, potentially working from home in some cases. Typical roles that lend themselves well to self-employment include consultants of various descriptions, writers and designers. You might also set up an online retail business where you sell niche products.

If you’re thinking about setting up a self-employed business and are currently on benefits, you may be able to get additional funding from the government's New Enterprise Allowance.

Working and jobseeking as a disabled person can at times be challenging, but there is lots of help and support available. Take a look at our top tips and check out some of the resources available.

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Using these tips

These tips have been contributed by members of our online community. We hope they will give you some ideas to try, but if you need further help why not post a question to the community or talk to one of our community advisors. If you have any concerns about your health or the wellbeing of someone you are caring for, please consult a doctor or qualified professional.