‘We have a gold­mine of tal­ented peo­ple that can be tapped into’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

THE 2011 Cen­sus pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing read for many rea­sons, one of which I would like to fo­cus on this month.

Those with pro­tracted health prob­lems or dis­abil­i­ties have long fought for fair treat­ment and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the work­place.

There­fore, when peo­ple were asked for the 2011 Cen­sus to say whether their day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties are limited a lit­tle or a lot be­cause of a health prob­lem or dis­abil­ity which has lasted, or is ex­pected to last, more than 12 months, some in­ter­est­ing talk­ing points were raised.

Even though Buck­ing­hamshire ranks third for res­i­dents with dis­abil­i­ties or long-term health prob­lems who are de­gree level ed­u­cated or higher and has one of the low­est rates for those with no qual­i­fi­ca­tions, we also have one of the high­est num­ber of those res­i­dents who have never worked or who are clas­si­fied as long-term un­em­ployed.

Out of all em­ploy­ment seek­ers with a dis­abil­ity, it is those with dif­fi­culty see­ing or hear­ing who have the most trou­ble find­ing work, with only 40 per­cent of them in em­ploy­ment.

With the em­ploy­ment rate for those with health prob­lems or dis­abil­i­ties at just un­der 70 per cent and with many peo­ple with lim­it­ing prob­lems be­ing of work­ing age, this sug­gests our busi­nesses are not tap­ping into this gold­mine of well-ed­u­cated, tal­ented peo­ple.

In­ter­est­ingly, peo­ple with a long-term health prob­lem or dis­abil­ity make up almost 20 per­cent of Buck­ing­hamshire res­i­dents whose high­est level of qual­i­fi­ca­tion is an ap­pren­tice­ship.

This sug­gests a trend of en­ter­ing into ap­pren­tice­ships but per­haps not car­ry­ing on into full-time em­ploy­ment.

Ap­pren­tice­ships are a won­der­ful av­enue for any per­son wish­ing to work, how­ever no one should be con­fined to one par­tic­u­lar ca­reer path and ev­ery­one should be en­cour­aged to ex­plore all avail­able op­tions.

Th­ese is­sues were dis­cussed on Septem­ber 4 when the newly-ap­pointed Min­is­ter for Dis­abled Peo­ple, Mark Harper MP, vis­ited Buck­ing­hamshire.

Mr Harper also launched two new schemes; the Gov­ern­ment’s Ac­ces­si­ble Bri­tain Chal­lenge and Fair4All, which both aim to en­sure that dis­abled peo­ple are ac­tive par­tic­i­pants in the com­mu­nity and re­ceive fair treat­ment.

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion about the data in this ar­ti­cle, please con­tact Buck­ing­hamshire Business First’s re­search team on 01494 568 935.

Philippa Bat­ting

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