1 in 5 of the UK working age population are disabled. Yet, last year, only around 35,000 people applied for Access to Work (AtW). That’s less than 1% of the disabled workforce.
This is partially explained by the following:
- most workplace adjustments don’t cost any money to implement
- it could be that the adjustment needed may be already in situ at the workplace
- if there is a cost for a particular adjustment then this might be paid for fully by the employer, without the need for an employee to apply for AtW
- lots of people haven’t heard of AtW
However, this helpful article shines a light on the underuse of Access to Work and also contains a handy video. It’s worth saying the scheme is also available to those who have been invited to an interview, not just employees:
Persistence beats resistance…It’s great to see that this person has found a job in the NHS, after 600 unsuccessful applications. Like many adults, this person has recently acquired a disability. Sadly, she cites being open with employers about her aneurysm as the reason for previous rejections. If that is why, then that is very disappointing.
However, it can be a really compelling and effective approach for disabled applicants to be open about their disability. It might be their experience of having disability is part of their motivation to work at the company, or that the variety of skills gained from managing a disability are going to be much-needed in the job role:
Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, University of Westminster