I spend my days helping organisations become more Inclusive and Diverse, strategy, training and analytic. Last week I was supporting our CSR programme, which is in partnership with Leonard Cheshire, helping and preparing young people with disabilities for the world of work, through interview and CV coaching.
Most days I come home from work and talk for a few minutes about the highs and lows, then it's onto the evening logistics, cooking, taxi driving etc – I was still talking about Milly and Harry, who I did one to one practice with that morning.
The reality is, at the age of 26, disabled people in the UK are four times more likely to be out of work or not in education compared to non-disabled people.
Harry wants to be a scriptwriter. I was sitting opposite him, asking him questions about his motivation, experience; he transforms from a shy, fidgety young adult, to one who looks you in the eye, talks about the subliminal moment of watching scooby doo at the age of 8, then writing a script for the next series. He discussed how it will engage people, make them laugh, and why Warner Brothers is the spiritual home for him (not Universal).
Milly wants to work with people with disabilities, as she can communicate in Makaton, specialising in Makaton singing hands; she is dependable, reliable, caring, and can give many examples of how she has demonstrated she is trustworthy. If she was local, I would have signed her up for babysitting for extra cash on the spot!
I am completely sold and wrap up with the “do you have any questions for me” which tends to close an interview.
Harry responded, “how many days do you want me to work?” and Milly with “how am I going to get to work?”. It was such a lesson for me on how much we need to adapt as organisations to welcome and benefit from the skills which people with disabilities have to offer in our workplaces, and how much we can demystify the world of work to this untapped talent pool.
I mentioned the double bubble of Inclusion, our lunchtime discussion was solely around what more can we do, how can we help Phoebe become a football coach, how we support Alex to be a bricklayer, can they come back in 3 months’ time to do further practice sessions? Can we support a new group come in every month?
On top of that, it was the revealing of hidden skills and talents in our office, who knew Sophie could do the Worm (which she demonstrated to all during her mock interview, of what not to do), when we shared our childhood dream jobs, Tim would want to play for Man United, we had vets, real life mermaids, travel bloggers and chefs among us. The route into executive search is an interesting one.
So, a double Inclusion bubble for me, hopefully we have helped a group of individuals be included more in society, and as a team have moved up the relationship tree, with a shared commitment to do more going forward.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
For more information, please contact Sue Johnson, Managing Partner of our Inclusion & Diversity Consultancy.