Disability Confident - Get involved!
Sarah Newton MP, the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, tells Revo members about Disability Confident and why she wants retailers to join the scheme.
There seem to be reports in the media almost every day about how retail is changing. Many of you are on the frontline of the sector’s transformation. As the rise of online continues and the competition for customers increases, retail businesses need to innovate to maximise new opportunities. In fact, the sector’s ability to do this is a constant through all of these changes.
As the role of stores changes, providing the best ‘experience’ is crucial in bringing in customers and making them want to return. Location and the physical space are key elements in this. But just as important are people. That’s why retail remains one of the largest employment sectors in the economy.
To meet the changing demands of customers and continue to increase productivity, the sector needs a strong pool of talent to draw from. But skill shortages in the labour market mean that the competition for good people is high. I talk to retail businesses all the time who tell me that this is a key issue for the sector. And one of the great things about being the Minister for Disabled People is that many of these same retailers also tell me about the ways they are exploring all potential sources of talent and building their know-how to make their businesses inclusive.
There are over 7 million working age people in the UK who have a disability or health condition, representing a vast and varied pool of talent that retailers could tap into.
Good businesses like to reflect the diversity of their consumer base in their workforce, and of course, disabled people are customers with significant spending power. Disabled people can also bring unique skills and perspectives to an organisation, enhancing the ‘experience’ for all employees and customers.
But many employers are currently missing out. Some lack the confidence to employ disabled people, and some have misconceptions about what it will mean for their business. The Disability Confident scheme can help businesses overcome these barriers.
Over 5,500 organisations have already signed up to Disability Confident, including more than 200 retailers. If your business is not already Disability Confident, I urge you to join them. It's free and the sign-up process is easy to access online. You can start your Disability Confident journey by going to gov.uk/disability-confident
Sarah Newton MP
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work
What is Disability Confident?
The Disability Confident scheme can give you the skills, tools and support you need to recruit or retain people who have a disability or long term health condition.
Disability Confident provides a framework for building an organisation’s disability capability and capacity – so they can position themselves to better access a wider pool of skilled individuals. Mike Adams, Chief Executive, Purple
There are 3 Disability Confident levels to work through which show your progression – Committed, Employer and Leader.
To sign up to the first level (Committed) you will agree to 5 basic Disability Confident commitments and identify at least one action you’ll carry out in the next 12 months, to make a difference for disabled people. These include offering opportunities like paid employment, work experience or job shadowing to people with a disability.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a certificate and a badge to use in your business communications for 12 months. You’ll also have access to a range of advice and guidance to help you progress to the second level (Employer) which includes a helpful self-assessment framework to check you're employing best practice.
After achieving the second level, you can then look at getting Disability Confident Leader status and been seen as a champion in your local and business communities.
Signing up as Committed doesn’t mean that your business has to get everything right first time, all the time – but it's a great way to work towards it. It's also a clear signal to your customers, colleagues and the wider world that you value disabled people in your organisation and you're on the road to disability confidence.