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Careers and work for disabled
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Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
Chief Executive: Benet Middleton
Unit 3, Floor 3, Radisson Court, 219 Long Lane, London SE1 4PR
Tel: 020 7450 0620              Fax: 020 7450 0650

Information service:
Tel: 0800 328 5050
Textphone: 18001 0800 328 5050 (Type Talk)
Tuesdays 11.30am-1.30pm and Thursdays 1.30pm-3.30pm

Skill is a company limited by guarantee (2397897) and a
registered charity (801971) 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.

Contents                                                  Page
Looking for work                                                2
1 Obtaining careers advice                                      2
2 Your rights: The Equality Act                                 4
3 Finding disability-friendly employers                         4
4 Looking for job vacancies                                     5
5 Applications and interviews                                   6
6 Apprenticeships                                               8

Alternative ways of working                                    9
7 Self-employment                                              9
8 Homeworking                                                 10

Useful contacts and publications                              12
9 Disability organisations that help jobseekers               16
10 Other useful contacts                                      16
11 Useful publications                                        21
12 Further help from Skill                                    21

                             Page 1
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 should speak to a careers adviser. Each area of the country
has Connexions, Next Step or careers services you can use. You
should be able to speak to an adviser or a careers guidance
specialist who has experience of advising disabled people. You
should also be able to use the careers library, which may include
information about job vacancies.

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. For contact details of the various services
across the UK, including Careers Wales and Careers Scotland
see section 10     Other useful contacts.

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.

The Next Step service is available to adults aged 20 and over.
Their services include information and advice on choosing a
career and the provision of guidance software such as Adult
Directions. As well as arranging for you to meet an adviser face-
to-face, Next Step can give you careers advice over the
telephone on 0800 100 900.

In Scotland you can get careers advice over the telephone by
contacting LearnDirect Scotland. They provide a number of

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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. For contact details see section 10 Other useful contacts.

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 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

                              Page 3
2   Your rights: The Equality Act
When looking for work as a disabled person, it is important to be
aware of your legal rights. The Equality Act 2010 builds on the
previous Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and makes it
unlawful for an employer to discriminate against disabled people
in two ways. Firstly, employers must not discriminate against
disabled people. Employers are also required 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 Equality Act.

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.

Disability symbol
The disability symbol is awarded by Jobcentre Plus 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 (EFD) 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

                              Page 4
employing disabled people. You can contact the EFD to obtain a
list of members. For contact details see section 10 Other
useful contacts.

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 9 Disability
organisations that help jobseekers. Skill has more detailed
information about sources of job vacancies in some of its
booklets and publications. For details see section 12 Further
help from Skill.

                              Page 5
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 Equality Act
2010, 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
section 9        Disability organisations that help jobseekers.

Under the Equality Act 2010 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

                              Page 6
Skill’s online publication Get that job includes more detailed
advice about writing applications, CVs and attending job

Telling people about 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 Telling people
about your disability. This goes into some detail about the
different approaches you might wish to take, and the potential
implications of your decision. For further information see section
12 Further help from Skill.

Recruitment agencies
Recruitment agencies can be a good way to get a job. They are
paid by employers to find suitable people for vacancies, so they
have an interest in getting you into appropriate work. They also
have access to some vacancies that are not advertised, and are
free for jobseekers.

For temp positions, the agency is usually the official employer
They make an agreement to supply you as a worker to somebody
else, but are directly responsible for paying you. The host
company, where you actually do your work, is called a ‘principal’.
Under the Equality Act, both the agency and the principal have
duties not to discriminate against you and they have to make
reasonable adjustments to overcome any employment
arrangements or physical features of the workplace that put you
at a substantial disadvantage.

When deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable,
employment agencies and principals will take into account how
long you will be working.

                              Page 7
Permanent agencies usually work by receiving a fee from an
employer for introducing you to them or for recruiting you. Your
employer is covered by the Equality Act in the usual way.

6   Apprenticeships
Skill has a new project for 2011 in partnership with Remploy.
Diversity in Apprenticeships is designed to provide disabled
young people with immediate information and advice on joining
apprenticeship programmes.

Remploy can give employers the guidance they need to remove
barriers to apprenticeships and help them support their staff and
make reasonable adjustments for people with a range of

We can provide information and advice and advice and refer
candidates to Remploy’s national network of offices and employer

Disabled young people who are interested in starting an
apprenticeship (and key advisers who work with them) can call
the Skill helpline for more information. Tel: 0800 328 5050. Email:

                             Page 8
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: 7 Self-employment and

8   Homeworking.

7   Self-employment
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
for Yourself.

New Deal – Self-employment option

                              Page 9
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: It
aims to provide networking opportunities and share good practice
for self-employed disabled people and those setting up their own

Prince’s Trust
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
Alternatively, call freephone 0800 842 842 and you will be put
through to the Prince’s Trust office in your area.

8   Homeworking
People who choose to work from home usually fall into one of
three categories:


                             Page 10
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
their home.

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.

Homeworkers’ Scheme
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,
visit the following website:

                             Page 11
Useful contacts and publications

9    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)
4th Floor, 1 London Wall Buildings, London EC2M 5PG
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.

Studio 12, 65 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3Q59
Tel: 020 7689 0033 Fax: 020 7689 1049
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.

                               Page 12
Disability Action (Northern Ireland)
Head Office, Portside Business Park, 189 Airport Road West,
Belfast BT3 9ED
Tel: 028 9029 7880 Textphone: 028 9029 7882
Disability Action's Employment and Training Service offers
information and support for people with disabilities, to help them
find and stay in work or vocational training. They also provide
disability and diversity awareness training to employers,
organisations, businesses and other interested agencies.

Disability Now
Newspaper covering disability issues, including some job

Disability Toolkits
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.

Leonard Cheshire’s Workability project
66 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL
Tel: 020 3242 0200 Fax: 020 3242 0250
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.

                             Page 13
Papworth Employment Programmes
Bernard Sunley Centre, Papworth Everard
Cambridge CB23 3RG
Tel: 0800 952 5000 Fax: 01480 357 201
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)
393 City Road, London EC1V 1NG
Tel: 020 7833 2299 Fax: 020 7833 9666
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.

18c Meridian East, Meridian Business Park, Leicester LE19 1WZ
Tel: 0845 155 2700 Textphone: 0845 155 0532
Fax: 0845 155 2701
Remploy offers a number of programmes for students and
graduates with disabilities.

For information on the Diversity in Apprenticeships
programme, contact the Skill helpline. Tel: 0800 328 5050.

                             Page 14
Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)
19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL
Tel: 0808 808 0123 Textphone: 0808 808 9000
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: 0303 123 9999
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
Services include general employment advice and referrals to
training opportunities and sources of funding for equipment and
workplace adaptations for people with cerebral palsy. The
Leadership Recruitment programme 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
national employers.

                            Page 15
Shaw Trust
Fox Talbot House, Greenways Business Park, Bellinger Close
Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 1BN
Tel: 01225 716 300 Textphone: 08457 697 288
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.

An online recruitment service that identifies the skills, talents and
experience of disabled jobseekers and matches them with

10 Other useful contacts
Association of Disabled Professionals
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.

                              Page 16
Disability Alliance
Universal House, 88-94 Wentworth Street, London E1 7SA
Tel: 020 7247 8776 Fax: 020 7247 8765
Provides information on social security benefits, tax credits and
social care to disabled people, their families, carers and
professional advisers.

Disability Wales / Anabledd Cymru
Bridge House, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GW
Tel: 029 2088 7325 Fax: 029 2088 8702
Provides a range of services to disabled people living in Wales.

Equality and Human Rights Commission
Information and guidance on discrimination and human rights

Telephone: 0845 604 6610
Textphone: 0845 604 6620

Telephone: 0845 604 5510
Textphone: 0845 604 5520

Telephone: 0845 604 8810
Textphone: 0845 604 8820

                             Page 17
Employers’ Forum on Disability
Nutmeg House, 60 Gainsford Street, London SE1 2NY
Tel 020 7403 3020     Textphone: 020 7403 0040
Fax: 020 7403 0404
For information about EFD see section 3 Finding disability-
friendly employers.

Ethical Careers
Unique service helping students to find a socially and
environmentally responsible career.

Guardian Jobs
Job advertisements and other resources for job seekers.

Jobcentre Plus
For details of your local Jobcentre Plus office you can look in your
local phonebook. Alternatively visit the website at

Careers information, interview tips, CV building and job vacancies

Prince’s Trust
Head Office, The Prince's Trust
18 Park Square East, London NW1 4LH
Tel: 0800 842 842     Textphone: 020 7543 1374
Fax: 020 7543 1200

                             Page 18
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.

GET: The Hobsons guide for students with disabilities
Provides useful careers advice for disabled graduates. Includes
information from large employers about their graduate
development schemes.

Career Services
Careers Service Northern Ireland
Lesley Buildings, 61 Fountain Street, Belfast BT1 5EX
Telephone: 028 9044 1781

Careers Scotland
Telephone 0845 8 502 502
Textphone 0141 889 8581
Information and advice on jobs, careers, learning and training in

Telephone: 0800 100 900 or 029 2090 6801 from a Mobile
Bilingual information and advice on jobs, careers, learning, and
apprenticeships in Wales.

                             Page 19
Connexions Direct
Telephone: 0808 001 3219
Textphone: 0800 096 8336
SMS text: 07766 4 13 2 19

Next Step
Telephone: 0800 100 900
Information and advice on jobs, careers, learning and training for
people 19 or over in England.

LearnDirect Scotland
Telephone: 0808 100 9000
LearnDirect Scotland encourages people from disadvantaged
backgrounds or those who, for whatever reason, have lost their
confidence in education to find a way back into learning. We can
help you develop your knowledge and abilities or extend your
work-related skills.

                             Page 20
11 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 coordinators.

Publications from the Equality and Human Rights
   Information on getting and keeping a job
   Your rights at work
   Positively Employed: an end to HIV discrimination at work
Easy read booklets available. For contact details see section
10 Other useful contacts.

Work for people who are sick or disabled
This factsheet from Disability Alliance goes through the type of
permitted work you can do while on Disability-related benefits and
how work and earnings can affect your benefits. Available from

12 Further help from Skill
Skill Information Service
Skill can answer general queries about work and disability issues
but we cannot give individual careers advice. Contact details are
on the front of this booklet.

Information booklets:
Skill’s information booklets are available from the Information
Service and on our website

                             Page 21
   A guide to the Equality Act
   Help for disabled people from Jobcentre Plus
   Telling people about your disability


Get that Job - An Internet publication for disabled jobseekers
available at

The Into Series

     Into Architecture
     Into Higher Education
     Into Law
     Into Medicine
     Into Nursing & Midwifery
     Into Sport
     Into Teaching
     Into Volunteering
     Into Work Experience

These publications include advice on qualifying in these fields
and profiles of disabled people who have successfully pursued
these professions. These books cost £2.50 for individual students
or jobseekers, and £6.50 for professionals and organisations.

To order a publication, go to our online bookshop at or contact Skill on 020 7450

                                         Updated February 2011

                             Page 22