Work and pensions secretary John Hutton unveils Employ Ability initiative to dispel myths and highlight benefits of employing disabled people

Employers should make use of the skills that disabled employees have to offer, said work and pensions secretary John Hutton at the launch of an initiative, Employ Ability.

This initiative will highlight the benefits of employing disabled people and dispel some of the myths. The current employment rate of disabled people is 50%, compared with 74% for non-disabled people.

Employ Ability will be piloted in the four cities of Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Liverpool from September before being rolled out nationally next year. It aims to:

  • Challenge negative assumptions about the skills and talent disabled workers, and those with long-term health conditions, have to offer

  • Build the confidence of employers in recruiting and retaining disabled workers and promote best practice examples of how this is being successfully done

  • Improve employers’ access to practical information, making it easier for them to locate relevant sources of advice and support for their situation

Hutton said: “I believe we need to go further in getting employers themselves to do more in supporting both recruitment and retention of disabled people.

“However, we will not succeed in changing the attitudes of employers by simply placing additional burdens on them. It has to be about enabling them to see and benefit from the huge potential that disabled people have to offer and the difference that they can make to an employer’s bottom line.”

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