Careers and work for disabled
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Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
Chief Executive: Barbara Waters
Unit 3, Floor 3, Radisson Court, 219 Long Lane, London SE1 4PR
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.skill.org.uk
Tel: 020 7450 0620 Fax: 020 7450 0650
Tuesdays 11.30am-1.30pm and Thursdays 1.30pm-3.30pm
Tel: 0800 328 5050 or Textphone: 0800 068 2422
Skill is a company limited by guarantee (2397897) and a
registered charity (801970) also registered in Scotland
Careers and work for disabled people
This booklet aims to provide you with useful sources of
information when looking for work as a disabled person. You may
also find it helpful to read our booklet Help for disabled people
from Jobcentre Plus.
Looking for work 2
2 Your rights: The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 4
3 Finding disability-friendly employers 4
4 Looking for job vacancies 5
5 Applications and interviews 5
Alternative ways of working 7
6 Self-employment 7
7 Homeworking 9
Useful contacts and publications 10
8 Disability organisations that help jobseekers 10
9 Other useful contacts 15
10 Useful publications 19
11 Further help from Skill 20
Looking for work
1 Obtaining careers advice
If you are in any doubt about the sort of work you are looking for,
or need more information about the routes into certain careers,
you may wish to approach a careers adviser. Each area of the
country has Connexions, nextstep or careers services you can
access . You should be able to speak to an adviser or a careers
guidance specialist who has experience of advising people with
disabilities. You should also be able to use the careers library,
which may include information about job vacancies.
The Connexions service provides careers information and advice
and is generally available to young people aged 13-19, unless
you have a disability in which case you may continue to use
Connexions up until the age of 25.
In England the nextstep service is available to adults aged 20
and over. Eligibility may depend on your current qualifications
level, but their services include information and advice on
choosing a career and the provision of guidance software such
as Adult Directions.
Wherever you live you should be able to access careers
guidance as an adult, although you may find that some areas will
charge for this service. See Other Useful Contacts section for
contact details of the various services across the UK, including
Careers Wales and Careers Scotland.
You can also obtain careers advice over the telephone by
contacting LearnDirect. This is a national organisation which
provides a number of services, including information about
course providers and qualifications needed to pursue particular
careers. They are also able to tell you where you can get careers
advice in your local area. See Other Useful Contacts section at
the end of this booklet.
Further and higher education careers services
If you are in further or higher education, your college or university
should have careers advisers. They should be able to help you
decide what to do when you finish college.
If you have already left university or a college of higher
education, you can still use the careers service where you
studied. If you have moved, you can use the service at your
nearest university. You should be able to visit for up to three
years after graduation. A careers adviser can take you through all
the options that your degree has opened up and help you decide
which direction you want to go in. There may be a charge for an
interview with an adviser and some London universities also
make charges for the use of their careers resources.
Prospects has an extensive graduate careers website at
www.prospects.ac.uk. They also offer a free email careers
advice service for up to five years after graduation.
The University of London Careers Group also has a useful
website at www.careers.lon.ac.uk
2 Your rights: The Disability Discrimination Act
When looking for work as a disabled person, it is important to be
aware of your legal rights. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
1995 introduced rights for disabled people in work and when
applying for work. Part 2 of the Act makes it unlawful for an
employer to discriminate against disabled people in two ways.
Firstly, an employer must not treat a disabled person less
favourably for a reason related to his/her disability without a valid
justification. An employer is also required by law to make
reasonable adjustments if a disabled person is placed at a
substantial disadvantage. For more information on the Act see
Skill’s information booklet A guide to the Disability
Discrimination Act and the 5-step test.
3 Finding disability-friendly employers
You should find that many of the large employers are aware of
their duties under the Act. However, sometimes you may wish to
look out for signs that an organisation has a particularly positive
approach towards recruiting people with disabilities. See below.
The disability symbol is awarded by Jobcentre Plus (previously
the Employment Service) to companies or organisations that
have made certain positive commitments towards employing
disabled people. Jobcentre Plus publishes leaflets about the
symbol and the commitments that employers need to make in
order to display it. You will see the symbol (two ticks and the
wording ‘positive about disabled people’) displayed on job
adverts and application forms.
Employers’ Forum on Disability
The Employers’ Forum on Disability (EDF) is an organisation with
over 300 corporate members. It aims to improve the job
prospects of disabled people by making it easier for employers to
recruit, retain and develop disabled employees. Companies that
are members are likely to have a positive attitude towards
employing people with disabilities. You can contact the EDF to
obtain a list of members. See Other Useful Contacts section.
Culture of an organisation
It may be possible to identify what sort of attitude an employer will
have towards employing disabled people by looking at the
general culture of the organisation. You can sometimes find this
information from looking at brochures, equal opportunity policies
and annual reports.
4 Looking for job vacancies
Once you have identified the sort of job you are looking for, there
are many sources of information on vacancies. These include
looking at newspaper adverts, contacting employers directly,
searching the internet, attending careers fairs and contacting
recruitment agencies. You might be able to get some assistance
with this from disability organisations. See section Disability
organisations that help jobseekers at the end of the booklet.
Skill has more detailed information about sources of job
vacancies in some of its booklets and publications. See section
on Further help from Skill.
5 Applications and interviews
When requesting further information about a job, it is worth noting
that you can ask for this in an alternative format, such as large
print, Braille, tape or electronically. You can also ask to submit
your application in an alternative format. Under the Disability
Discrimination Act 1995, providing application materials in an
alternative format is likely to be considered a reasonable
adjustment that an employer should make. Some organisations
can provide advice and assistance with writing CVs and filling in
application forms. See Disability organisations that help
jobseekers at the end of the booklet.
Under the DDA 1995, the employer has a duty to make
reasonable adjustments to the arrangements for interview. If you
need any adjustments, it is advisable to tell the employer in
advance so that they can ensure the necessary arrangements
are made. For example, if a person is unable to attend an
interview at a specific time because of a disability, it is likely
under the Act that the employer would have to rearrange the
Access to Work
Access to Work (AtW) is a scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that
provides practical help to disabled people in the workplace by
meeting some of the extra employment costs that arise from a
disability. It can pay for many aspects of support ranging from the
extra cost of getting to and from work to special aids and
equipment, and adaptations to premises. If you have to attend an
interview, Access to Work can meet the costs of a communicator
and/or travel to interview. You can use Access to Work even if
you are still a student and need to attend an interview. See Skill’s
information booklet Help for disabled people from Jobcentre
Skill’s online publication Get that job includes more detailed
advice about writing applications, CVs and attending job
interviews. See also Skill’s information booklet Using
recruitment agencies as a disabled jobseeker. Details of these
are at the end of the booklet.
Disclosing your disability
One of the issues that can arise when looking for work is
whether, when and how to disclose your disability. Skill has
produced a separate information booklet called Disclosing your
disability. This goes into some detail about the different
approaches you might wish to take, and the potential implications
of your decision. See section Further information from Skill.
Alternative ways of working
These days many people choose to do work which does not
follow the traditional 9am to 5pm pattern. Some people need to
work flexibly because of caring responsibilities or other personal
commitments. People with certain kinds of disabilities can also
benefit from more flexible work patterns. It is possible to find work
on a part-time or job share basis, and a number of organisations
now offer a flexi-time system, giving you more control over your
working hours. This section focuses on two other possible ways
of working: self employment and homeworking.
There may be a number of reasons for choosing to become self-
employed. You may have an idea for your own business, you
may wish to work in an environment which you can adjust to suit
your needs or self-employment may be the best way of arranging
a job around your skills. Setting up your own business can seem
daunting and it is hard work but it can also be very rewarding and
there are organisations that can offer help, guidance and financial
support in the form of grants or loans.
Your first point of contact if you are considering self-employment
should be the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local
Jobcentre Plus office. They can help you decide whether self-
employment is a viable option and help you locate sources of
funding and support. You can also ask for a leaflet called Work
New Deal – Self-employment option
You can get support and advice on setting up and running your
own business from the government’s New Deal scheme. If you
are aged 18-24 you can receive help from a self-employment
package when you leave the initial Gateway stage of the New
Deal programme. If you are aged 25-63 and want to work for
yourself, Jobcentre Plus could help you through Work-based
Learning for Adults or Training for Work in Scotland.
Disabled Entrepreneurs Network
The following website has been set up by the Association of
Disabled Professionals: www.disabled-entrepreneurs.net. It
aims to provide networking opportunities and share good practice
for self-employed disabled people and those setting up their own
If you are aged between 18-30 with a viable idea for your own
business, then you may be able to get help from the Prince’s
Trust’s Business Programme. They have a Business Start-Up
Loan package which offers loans (on average £2,500) and grants
of up to £1,500. Mentors and Business Advisers provide
assistance with marketing etc. To be eligible for funding from the
scheme you must have tried to raise the money elsewhere but
failed. There are Prince’s Trust offices around the country which
are listed on their website www.princes-trust.org.uk.
Alternatively, call freephone 0800 842 842 and you will be put
through to the Prince’s Trust office in your area.
People who choose to work from home usually fall into one of
Most homeworkers fall into this category and either provide a
product or service from home (such as a web publisher, CV
consultant or dressmaker) or use their home as a base (such as
a plumber, market stall holder or musician). Freelance means
being self-employed but offering an existing skill (eg architect,
Outworkers are usually skilled piece-workers and contract
packers who are paid to carry out a certain amount of work at
Teleworkers are usually employees using technology installed at
home by their employers to enable them to do their job from
home and keep in touch with other teleworkers.
In some areas there is the Homeworkers’ Scheme (sometimes
also known as the ‘Blind Homeworkers’ Scheme’ although it is
not just for blind or visually impaired people). The scheme aims to
provide support to those wishing to set up and run their own
business from home. To qualify, you must be eligible for the
Workstep programme run by Jobcentre Plus. Contact your local
authority or DEA at the Jobcentre Plus office for more details. For
more information about the sort of work you could do from home,
contact the National Group on Homeworking. See Other useful
contacts section for details. You can also visit the following
Useful contacts and publications
8 Disability organisations that help jobseekers
There are many organisations that help disabled jobseekers.
Some can help people with any kind of disability and others will
help people with specific disabilities. This is just a selection, but it
is worth asking other disability organisations about any schemes
they offer for jobseekers.
Blind in Business (BIB)
Wingate Annexe, St. Alphage House
2 Fore Street, London EC2Y 5DA.
Tel: 020 7588 1885 Fax: 020 7588 1886
Blind in Business provides a range of services to both
undergraduates/graduates and employers to ease the transition
between education and employment for visually impaired
individuals. BIB works through the whole application process,
from supplying recruitment materials and vacancy information in
a range of formats, to providing specialist seminars and advice.
All the services are free and available to any visually-impaired
young person looking for work.
59 Banner Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1Y 8PX
Tel: 020 7689 0033 Text: 020 7689 1048.
Fax: 020 7689 1049 Email: email@example.com
Deafworks offers advice on preparing for interviews and careers
counselling for deaf people. You would need to go in person to
the office in London for this service. Contact Deafworks for details
of their hourly charge.
Disability Action (Northern Ireland)
Head Office, Portside Business Park, 189 Airport Road West,
Belfast BT3 9ED
Tel: 028 9029 7880 Text: 028 9029 7882 Fax: 028 9029 7881
Disability Action's Employment and Training Service offers
information and support for people with disabilities, to assist them
in gaining and retaining employment or to participate in
vocational training. They also provide disability and diversity
awareness training to employers, organisations, businesses and
other interested agencies.
Newspaper covering disability issues, including some job
Work experience is of increasing importance on a CV. Disability
Toolkits aims to help you gain and make the most of work
experience and placement opportunities, exploring some of the
issues that you might face as a disabled student and providing
you with information and sources of support that may benefit you.
Disability Wales / Anabledd Cymru
Bridge House, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GW
Tel: 029 2088 7325 Fax: 029 2088 8702
Disability Wales provides independent advice and information,
training opportunities and support for disabled people both
directly as Disability Wales services and indirectly by supporting
local agencies. They also provide training and advice to
employers, service providers and policy makers in Wales.
Employment Opportunities for people with disabilities
Crystal Gate, 3rd Floor, 28-30 Worship Street, London EC2A 2H
Tel: 020 7448 5420 Text: 020 7374 6684 Fax: 020 7374 4913
16 regional centres around the country offering job search advice
including CVs, application forms and interview techniques. They
also work closely with employers, government agencies, training
establishments and university careers services to create routes
into employment for people with disabilities. They have specific
services for graduates.
Useful website of job vacancies for disabled people who are
looking for work. Part of the totaljobs.com website and run in
conjunction with Leonard Cheshire (see below).
Leadership Recruitment (formerly known as Fast-Track)
6-10 Market Road, London N7 9PW.
Tel: 020 7619 7299 Text: 020 7619 7187.
Fax: 020 7619 7399
Leadership Recruitment is a work-based development
programme for disabled people of graduate level. People
recruited to the programme are employed by Scope for 12
months, during which their career aims and development needs
are assessed, and work placements are offered with various
Leonard Cheshire’s Workability project
30 Millbank, London SW1P 4QD
Tel: 020 7802 8200 Fax: 020 7802 8250
The project aims to provide thousands of disabled adults with
computer equipment in their own homes, training them in new
skills and providing help in the job search process. The project is
open to disabled people between 19-50 years who have had
difficulty finding work because of their disability.
Papworth Employment Programmes
The Papworth Trust, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB3 8RG
Tel: 01480 357 200 Fax: 01480 830 781
Various programmes supporting disabled people who are long-
term unemployed, as well as those who have acquired a disability
as a result of a workplace injury, serious illness or a road traffic
accident. Workplace evaluation, job searching, job analysis and
matching and access to mainstream Jobcentre Plus programmes
where relevant. There are centres in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire,
Hertfordshire and Essex.
Prospects (National Autistic Society)
National Autistic Society, Studio 8, The Ivories
6-8 Northampton Street, London N1 2HY
Tel: 020 7704 7450 Fax: 020 7359 9440
Only specialised employment service for people with Asperger
syndrome and autism in the UK. Helps with work preparation and
also provides support in the workplace.
Remploy Limited, Stonecourt, Siskin Drive, Coventry CV3 4FJ
Tel: 0800 138 7656
Minicom: 024 7651 5869
Fax: 0800 138 7657
Remploy offers a work experience programme relevant to
students and graduates with disabilities. Their Interwork
programme also offers individual support for job-hunters.
Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)
19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL
Tel: 0808 808 0123 (freephone) Text: 0808 808 9000 (freephone)
Fax: 020 7296 8199
The RNID's Employment Training and Skills Service provides
information and advice to deaf or hearing impaired jobseekers.
Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB)
105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
Helpline: 0845 766 99 99 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The RNIB provides information and advice to blind and partially
sighted jobseekers. It also runs the Trainee Grade Scheme
(TGS) offering paid work experience. You should contact your
local RNIB Employment and Student Support Network for further
Scope’s Employment Services
Scope, 6 Market Road, London N7 9PW
Tel: 0808 800 3333
A team of Employment Officers operating across England and
Wales. Services include general employment advice and referrals
to training opportunities and sources of funding for equipment
and workplace adaptations for people with cerebral palsy.
Shaw House, Epsom Square, White Horse Business Park,
Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 OXJ.
Tel: 01225 716 300 Text: 08457 697 288.
Fax: 01225 716 334.
Shaw Trust provides training and work opportunities for people
who are disadvantaged in the labour market due to disability, ill
health or other social circumstances. Many of their services are
tailored to the requirements of people who have experienced
mental ill health or who have a learning disability.
9 Other useful contacts
Association of Disabled Professionals
BCM ADP London WC1N 3XX
Tel: 01204 431638 Fax: 01204 431638
The Association provides advice, information and peer support to
disabled people, their advisers and friends focusing mainly on
employment and related issues. ADP also works to try to ensure
that legislation which will directly affect the lives of disabled
people takes their needs and aspirations into account.
Use their website to find your local service.
Use their website to find your local service.
Connexions Direct tel: 0808 0013219
Both of the above can help you find details of your local
Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
DRC Helpline, FREEPOST, MID 02164, Stratford upon Avon
Tel: 08457 622 633 Fax: 08457 778 878
Text: 08457 622 644
Email: You can email the DRC using the mailforms on their
website at www.drc-gb.org
Provides information and advice on the Disability Discrimination
Employers’ Forum on Disability
Nutmeg House, 60 Gainsford Street, London SE1 2NY.
Tel 020 7403 3020. Fax: 020 7403 0404.
Text: 020 7403 0040.
For information about the organisation see section on Finding
Unique service helping students to find a socially and
environmentally responsible career.
Guardian Jobs Unlimited
Jobs advertisements and other resources for job seekers.
For details of your local Jobcentre Plus office you can look in your
local phonebook. Alternatively visit the website at
Tel/Text: 0800 100 900.
Can direct you to colleges or other UK-based providers that run
the course you are interested in. Also offer individual careers
advice and job profile information.
Careers information, interview tips, CV building and job vacancies
National Group on Homeworking
Office 26, 30-38 Dock Street, Leeds LS10 1JF.
Tel: 0800 174 095
Open Mon to Fri 10am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 3.30pm.
Fax: 0113 246 5616.
Offers a free advice and information line for people working from
home, or interested in doing this. Produces a free fact pack for
Advice on learning and work for all adults aged 20 and over. Use
their website to find your local service.
Prince’s Trust Business Programme
Head Office, The Prince's Trust
18 Park Square East, London NW1 4LH
Tel: 0800 842 842 (freephone)
Fax: 020 7543 1200
Minicom: 020 7543 1374
Comprehensive guide to graduate jobs, careers and post
graduate study. Contains a database of employers, job vacancies
and useful information about a variety of careers.
Ready, Willing, Able
Unique online recruitment bulletin for disabled people.
This is an internet based job bank at www.worktrain.gov.uk. It
includes information on job vacancies advertised by Jobcentre
10 Useful publications
The Arberry Profile
Advice on careers, work experience, preparing a CV and
perfecting interview and presentation skills. The Arberry Profile is
distributed during the Autumn terms of the academic year through
university careers services and Disability Officers.
Disability Discrimination Act 1995: What employees and job
applicants need to know
Available from the Disability Rights Commission. See Other
useful contacts section for details.
Employment, health and disability – Getting in, staying in
and getting on
Employment factsheet available from the Disability Rights
GET 2007: The Hobsons guide for students with disabilities
Provides useful careers advice for disabled graduates. Includes
information from large employers about their graduate
development schemes. Available from careers services or can be
obtained from Hobson’s distributors on tel: 01752 202301, price
£9.99 plus postage and packaging.
Moving into work
A guide covering the support available from the benefits system
and government schemes for disabled people wanting to move
into work. Includes information on self-employment.
Available from the Disability Alliance, 88-94 Wentworth Street,
London E1 7SA.
Tel: 020 7247 8776 Fax: 020 7247 8765
11 Further help from Skill
Skill Information Service
Skill can answer general queries about work and disability issues.
Please note that we cannot offer individual careers advice.
Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
Chapter House, 18-20 Crucifix Lane, London SE1 3JW
Tel: 0800 328 5050 Text: 0800 068 2422.
Fax: 020 7450 0650
Open Tues 11.30am to1.30pm, Thurs 1.30pm to 3.30pm.
Skill information booklets
Details of our information booklets and their prices are available
from the Information Service. People with disabilities can obtain
five free booklets upon request. Please send a self-addressed
stamped envelope with a list of the booklets you would like to
have. They can also be downloaded as A4 sheets free from our
website www.skill.org.uk/info/infosheets.asp. You may find the
following particularly helpful:
A guide to the Disability Discrimination Act and the 5-step
Help for disabled people from Jobcentre Plus
Disclosing your disability
Using recruitment agencies as a disabled jobseeker
Get that Job - An Internet publication for disabled jobseekers
available at www.skill.org.uk/info/getthatjob/getthatjob.asp
Into Series - £2.50 for students and £6.50 for professionals.
Into Architecture - This is for anyone considering a career in
architecture and related areas. It includes profiles written by
people with disabilities.
Into Art - This publication discusses access to art courses for
students with disabilities, and contains profiles of disabled
students and artists.
Into Law - This is for anyone considering a career in Law. It
contains a section on useful contacts and profiles written by
Into Medicine - A guide for disabled people thinking about
entering the medical profession. It includes information about
applying, fitness to practise, funding and support, qualifications
and the different routes into medicine, as well as profiles written
by disabled people about their training and work.
Into Nursing and Midwifery - A guide for disabled people
thinking about nursing or midwifery as a career. The publication
includes information about applying, fitness to practise, funding
and support, as well as profiles written by disabled people about
their training and work in these professions.
Into Science and Engineering - This publication discusses
access for students with disabilities to science and engineering
courses and contains profiles of disabled people.
Into Teaching - A guide for disabled people thinking about
entering the teaching profession. It includes advice about the
application process, support and funding and the Fitness to
Teach regulations. The publication also contains profiles written
by disabled people about their teacher training.
Updated February 2007