Disability campaign urges employers to recruit people with Down’s Syndrome

Employers are being targeted by a new campaign that aims to get them to look again at jobseekers with Down’s Syndrome.

The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) is sending mail alerts to businesses across the UK in the form of a job application, covering letter and CV. The fictional applicant writes that he has Down’s Syndrome, and for the remainder of the letter the word ‘disabled’ is repeated over and over.

The mock CV follows the same format, with ‘disabled’ replacing the candidate’s career overview, qualifications and work experience.

There are approximately 15,000 working-age adults with Down’s Syndrome in the UK. Of those, just 16% are in some kind of employment – mostly voluntary and unpaid work – according to the DSA.

Carol Boys, the charity’s chief executive, said people with Down’s were particularly discriminated against because they were “easily identifiable”. Employment levels among people with the condition are lower than those with other physical disabilities, she said.

“Their expectations of some kind of employment are high and so it makes it all the more depressing when they are not able to find a job,” she said. “The DSA is asking employers to ‘look behind the label’ and see the potential of a person with Down’s Syndrome.”

Boys said fear of the unknown and a lack of understanding about the condition were preventing employers from hiring more candidates with Down’s Syndrome. The DSA is starting to work with more companies that are keen on hiring people with the condition, and is producing guidance to help employers.

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