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Disability in the modern workplace – one week to go!

diane videoBy Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer, Business Disability Forum

You can hear Diane talk about this event in our video about the conference, available on our YouTube page, by clicking here.

It’s just one week to go until our annual conference and so if you haven’t booked already, now is your chance!

It’s taking place on Wednesday 18 April at the Royal College of Nursing in central London and we’ve a packed programme planned

Our theme this year is “Disability in the modern workplace” – and we’ll be looking at how we can seize the opportunities provided by technology and new ways of working to bring us closer to a world where disabled people, businesses and governments can work together without barriers. We’re living – and working – in a world that is changing very rapidly. While many of these changes are very welcome, businesses must meet them with caution if they are to continue to work with disabled employees and customers in a productive way.

assitive-technology-at-desk-e1522250696637We hear a great deal about the ageing population and how this means there will be more people with disabilities and health conditions in work and generally living longer. We also know that 83% of disabilities and health conditions are acquired during someone’s life rather than being present at birth. So, why does disability consistently struggle for airtime in comparison to other protected characteristics?

At Business Disability Forum our purpose and our mission to work with business to transform the life chances of disabled people as employees and consumers and this event aims to shine a light on what that means in the modern world – and beyond!

So, some of the questions we’ll be asking include

  • What can we in the UK learn from other countries about getting it right on disability?
  • Why do certain groups of disabled students find it much harder to find employment than others?
  • What can employers do to ensure that they tap into and hire the best disabled talent from our universities?
  • Why do disabled employees need career development courses specifically for them?
  • Does it make a difference if the person has a visible or non-visible disability or whether they have a lifelong disability or a newly acquired disability?
  • How can we make sure that technology is an enabler of – rather than a placement for – people?

We’re delighted to be joined by the Minister for Disabled People, Work & Health, Sarah Newton MP as our morning keynote and we’ll also be taking a look at what disability means in a global context, from the perspective of both big business – Shell and Accenture – and government from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. We’ll also be looking at career progression and what’s needed to support disabled people to achieve their full potential – as all too often we know that disabled people’s career trajectory lags behind that of their non-disabled peers.

Of course, technology has a huge role to play in opening up opportunities and breaking down barriers and so we will be looking at what’s happening at the cutting edge in assistive technology and beyond. We’ll also be holding a bring your own device workshop over lunch where experts from Microsoft will be showing you how to get the most out of your mobile – and at the myriad of accessibility features that are at your fingertips.

We’ll be ending the formalities with a “Future of work” panel and “Question Time” hosted by newscaster Sir Martyn Lewis and with panellists from Barclays, Microsoft, EY and HSBC, it’s sure to be a lively debate! – followed by a networking drinks reception so you can chat and catch up with your peers.

We’re delighted to have our Partner HSBC on board as our sponsor for this and we’ll also be launching our new suite of nine briefings which HSBC have also kindly sponsored, at the event. We’re offering a 10% discount on the new briefings – which include guidance on stress, anxiety and depression, autism and Asperger’s syndrome, cancer, diabetes, dyspraxia, stammering and learning disability – which could save the cost of your ticket!

To sign up and find out more please click here:, call us on 020 7403-3020, or email

We hope to see you there!

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