Employers need to support disabilities

I have just read the article in Personnel Today by B&Q HR director Mike Cutt and how he felt being on long-term sick leave after his nearly fatal motorbike accident (28 September). It was a great insight into what so many others have experienced.

The Papworth Trust is a charity that helps disabled people across a range of services. I joined the trust in January last year after a life in commerce and I can now see how little I knew about what people experience.

Cutt’s excellent article crystallised so many of the lessons I have learnt and I am certain that a significant number of readers will ask whether this could happen to them and whether there is more they could do in their business to be more supportive and accessible.

The employment team at Papworth help people get the skills and confidence they need to obtain and sustain employment. We have a vocational rehab service that succeeds in getting 75 per cent of our musculoskeletal clients back into work despite most of them being out of work for more than five years, waiting for non-existent state support, or worse, for lawyers to argue about who should pay.

In the meantime their bodies and minds deteriorate rather than develop, all for the want of some relatively cheap intervention, and some positive experiences.

Cutt’s experiences will help some of our clients realise they are not alone and may help employers realise that such injuries are indiscriminate and can cause any one of us to join a group people traditionally think of as a minority – “the disabled”.

Congratulations on an article that communicates a message so very clearly.

Matthew Lester
Director of employment, The Papworth Trust

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