Universities union to monitor improvements in attitudes to disability at colleges

The University and College Union (UCU) has warned it will be keeping a close eye on employers in the education sector following the publication of a damning report on disability in the sector.

A study by the Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning said there was “institutional discrimination” against disabled people working in the further and higher education sectors.

The commission recommended that an agreement on disability equality in employment between employers’ body the Association of Colleges and the further education unions be adopted by every college and university.

UCU equality official Kate Heasman said: “UCU will be watching closely to see how college and university employers implement the proposals.”

Sheila Gupta, acting chair of the Universities Personnel Association, which represents HR practitioners, admitted there were “significant challenges” facing employers with regard to disabled workers.

But she insisted: “Institutions have adopted a wide range of approaches to continue to improve the employment and career opportunities for disabled staff.”

These ranged from introducing clear policies and guidelines on good practice, to offering a wide range of training for managers, staff and students to promote a more inclusive culture, she said.

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