Jane Hatton, Evenbreak
You know that disabled people make great employees, and you may already be advertising your vacancies on Evenbreak, a specialist job board run by and for disabled people. Business Disability Forum provides you with a great range of services to support you as an employer in becoming more inclusive and accessible to talented disabled candidates. But have you ever wondered who offers careers support to those candidates?
There are many places that offer careers support. But at Evenbreak, our candidates were telling us that often the general careers support available wasn’t suitable or accessible for them. Either it wasn’t relevant to disabled candidates, and was perhaps delivered by careers coaches with little understanding of the disabling barriers they face. Or the provision had restrictive eligibility criteria – dependent on their post code, or their age. Or they’d be ‘too disabled’ or ‘not disabled enough’ or have the ‘wrong’ impairment.
We really wanted to fill this huge gap in existing provision, and at the end of last year, we received a grant from Nesta to enable us to do just that. We developed the Career Hive which offers relevant and accessible careers support specifically for disabled people looking for new or better work. Developed and delivered by disabled careers professionals with lived experience of the barriers they face.
There is signposting to other organisations which may be able to offer specific support, and a whole load of online resources, including videos, checklists, guides and so on. There are regular online events and workshops, including ‘Meet the Employer’ events, where inclusive employers talk about the kinds of roles they offer, what the recruitment process looks like, how to ask for adjustments and what they are looking for in candidates.
There is, of course, access to the Evenbreak job board, where employers who are specifically looking to attract more disabled candidates advertise their vacancies. Employers like Channel 4, John Lewis, Unilever, Tesco, Facebook and many more.
Most importantly, there is access to a team of qualified careers professionals with lived experience of disability, who offer individual and group support, whether help with a CV or preparation for an interview, or confidence-building or identifying transferable skills. This may be a one-off coaching session on a specific issue, or a series of sessions looking at a range of issues. Designed to meet the needs of disabled candidates in ways accessible to them.
This new service was co-produced by the Evenbreak team (all of whom are disabled) and a focus group of Evenbreak candidates, as we wanted to ensure that the service met the real needs of disabled candidates. The service will be continuously improved through responding to feedback from people using the service. Other services planned for the future include offering peer support from successful candidates who can mentor and support other candidates.
So why would this be of interest to you, as an employer? Well, you can support disabled candidates looking at applying for your jobs by signposting them to the Hive. A simple sentence such as “We welcome applications from disabled candidates – if you need relevant and accessible support to apply for our roles, please visit Evenbreak’s Career Hive”
This demonstrates your commitment to welcoming and supporting talented disabled candidates, and costs you, and them, absolutely nothing. If you would like to explore this further, please contact me, Jane Hatton, on firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal chat.