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1 in 5 employers wont hire disabled workers: How OTs can help

Tuesday 19th December 2017
How occupational therapists can work with employers and disabled job candidates to help bridge the UKs disabled employment gap. Image: Wavebreakmedia via iStock
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The UK's occupational therapists may have an instrumental role to play in helping employers to become more confident in taking on workers with disabilities, after new research found more than one-fifth of managers are less likely to hire a disabled person.

The charity Leonard Cheshire Disability found that many employers are wary of hiring people with disabilities, with 73 per cent admitting that they were worried about disabled candidates being unable to do the jobs they were advertising.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of line managers said they believed it would be too costly to adapt their workplace in order to meet the needs of a disabled employee.

As a result, statistics show that people living with disabilities are four times more likely to be out of work at the age of 26 than their able-bodied counterparts.

However, it does not necessarily have to be an expensive upheaval for businesses to take on a worker with a disability. Occupational therapists can work closely with employers and disabled job candidates to make sure both parties are receiving the support they need to collaborate effectively, which could go some way towards bridging the UK's current disabled employment gap.

As occupational therapists often have many years of experience in these situations, they are well-placed to advise businesses on the safest yet most cost-effective ways they can adapt to meet disabled workers' needs and ensure their workplaces - and interview sites - are accessible to all.

Neil Hislop, chief executive officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability, commented: "Employers of all sizes have a huge role to play in closing the disability employment gap. Sadly, too many still seem to have the wrong idea about taking on disabled people.

"Given the chance and the right support, we know disabled people flourish, making huge contributions to the success of companies and the UK economy as a whole."

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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