Ayrshire spearheads DICE campaign to tackle the disability employment gap

Finding and creating new jobs for people of all ages and abilities is a key function of East Ayrshire Council’s Economic Development team, with recruitment, training and ongoing support for employers and employees being a vital part of that work.

For people with disabilities, getting and keeping a job can be made much easier with a little forethought, understanding and some adaptation on the part of the employer. And it’s for this reason that the Council has joined forces with 23 partner organisations to spearhead a pan-Ayrshire initiative, DICE, which will support employers to find workable solutions to ease the path of employees with disabilities.

DICE stands for Disability Inclusive = Confident Employers, and is part of a UK wide Disability Confident campaign led by Minister for Disabled People , Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt MP. The campaign highlights the benefits of recruiting disabled people and how employers can achieve this. It addresses misconceptions about disabled people in the work place and highlights the positive aspects to be gained.

In Ayrshire, the launch of DICE is happening in partnership with the Disability Confident campaign, at the Grand Hall, Kilmarnock on 27 January. Hosted by Alan Brown MP and Philippa Whitford MP at The Grand Hall, Kilmarnock the event is aimed at employers. Third sector organisations and training providers will be also be present with total registrations currently totalling 110. The event will focus upon helping employers find out more about the support and opportunities available to them in creating and retaining work opportunities and in recruitment of those with long term health issues or disability. Work experience, apprenticeships, work trials and paid employment can be arranged to meet business need with local JCP Employer Advisers.

Councillor Elena Whitham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economy said: “Local employers from East, North and South Ayrshire are grouping together with the new DICE initiative to support more disabled people into jobs. With 4,100 looking for work, Ayrshire wants to go further by hosting its first Disability Confident event.  This is part of a Government pledge to halve the disability employment gap, create and increase opportunities for all.

“The event is the launch pad for DICE, a pan Ayrshire collaboration which will signpost employers and those with disabilities to the best places to find support in finding and pursuing successful employment. We hope the launch event and DICE will go a long way to address misconceptions about disability and the work place and enable employers to access positive support to make recruitment  and retention easier.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Penny Mordaunt MP said: “I’m pleased that both Philippa and Alan are hosting this event in Ayrshire. Halving the disability employment gap is critical if we are to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed in life.

“The number of disabled people in work has increased by almost 600,000 in the last 3 years and over 3.4 million disabled people are currently in employment.” but there is more to do and by bringing together local businesses and people, employers can ensure they don’t miss out on some of the best talent in their community. Disabled people make up a significant proportion of the potential workforce and by extending these opportunities; we can have a Britain that works for everyone.”

Services on offer include Fit for Work Scotland, Access to Work and Working Health Services, aimed at maintaining a working environment which supports current staff to remain in the work place.

The agencies represented within DICE already work hard to prepare prospective employees for the work place. Government programs also offer flexible approaches adapted to meet the needs of business and these can be agreed in discussions with local Job Centre Employer Advisers.

The event is being sponsored by Remploy and East Ayrshire Council and is also part of the national Disability Confident campaign.

Alan Brown MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun said: “I am fully supportive of the inclusive nature of the Disability Confident Scheme and I look forward to hosting the DICE event at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock in this month. I encourage local businesses to book their places as we all must play our part in removing the latent barriers that prevent so many disabled people from securing employment.”

“It is also key to remember that many people acquire their disability whilst in work. This means it is vital we help employers understand how they can retain disabled workers through practical and financial help.  To ensure we have a truly inclusive society, we must enable people to realise their individual potential whilst retaining a social security system that works for all.”

Dr Philippa Whitford MP for Central Ayrshire said: “I am delighted to be participating in Ayrshire’s first Disability Confident Employer Information Event, along with my colleague Alan Brown. If we are to succeed in significantly reducing the disability employment gap, it is vital that potential employers have sufficient information and support to feel confident in recruiting and retaining disabled employees.

“As people are now having to work to a much older age, more employees will carry chronic illness and disabilities, and employers need to be prepared for this. I would, therefore, encourage all local businesses to come along to learn more about the DICE initiative and take advantage of the expert advice and first-hand experience which will be available on the day.”

Programme details for DICE Job Fair

To ask more about DICE email us

Link to the Disability Confident Campaign

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