Businesses are ‘apprehensive’ about disability

Businesses are 'apprehensive' about employing people with a disability.

Businesses are 'apprehensive' about employing people with a disability. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than half of the South West’s businesses are afraid to hire someone with a disability, and an activist from Weston is calling on employers to put aside their fears.

Steve Ledbrook, South West ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers, believes employers can ignore people’s talent by focusing too much on their disability.

He said: “It’s disappointing that four years after the Paralympics in London, employers still feel awkward and unsure about employing disabled people.

“Disabled people have huge potential as employees. We’re calling on employers to see past their awkwardness and look towards our talents and capabilities.”

Mr Ledbrook’s comments come after equality campaign group Purple revealed 51 per cent of employers in the South West are apprehensive about hiring people with a disability due to fears they won’t be able to do the job or they may make inappropriate comments.

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The organisation quizzed thousands of businesses to produce the report. 32 per cent of employers are worried about using incorrect terminology, according to the report.

The report also suggests 43 per cent of employers expect disabilities to be disclosed on an applicant’s CV prior to an interview, despite there being no legal obligation to do so.

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Chief executive of Purple, Mike Adams commented on the findings. He said: “What this latest research tells us is it isn’t disability that’s the barrier to finding employment, but the worries and misconceptions of business owners themselves.

“This isn’t just a barrier for disabled people, but for many businesses missing out on valuable employee skills and talent, as well as powerful consumer opportunity.”

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