July is Disability Pride month. This gives an opportunity to celebrate people with disabilities and recognise their invaluable contributions to society. Disability Pride month was first set up in the USA to mark the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 – a law that extended civil rights protection to disabled people. Today it’s recognised and celebrated around the world.
At Wallace, we have made inclusivity a core part of our purpose. It’s a value we hold close and one we strive to live up to in every aspect of our work. This month, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on and talk about what we’re doing to support people who are living with disabilities; people close to us as well as those we reach through our work – and what more we can and should be doing.
Disability is not always visible
In line with the Equality Act 2010, disability is defined as a physical or mental health condition or illness lasting 12 months or longer and that reduces a person’s ability to carry out their normal day-to-day activities. According to Government figures, around one in five adults of working age in the UK have a disability.*
Many different conditions fall under the definition of disability. It’s estimated that the majority of these are invisible, meaning disabilities that are not necessarily obvious to those around the person. From mental health conditions to hearing and vision impairments to long-term conditions such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and psoriasis. So often we simply don’t know what challenges people around us might be dealing with.
It’s also important to reflect that with most disabilities acquired after the age of 16,** disability can affect anyone at any time in their lives.
Supporting people with disabilities and ensuring they have all the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential needs action from all of us. The disabled community represents a rich and diverse pool of talent and it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure that recruitment practices are meeting their needs.
Earlier this year, at Wallace Health we were delighted to join the Disability Confident programme and receive certification that we are a Disability Confident Committed Employer.
The Disability Confident scheme was set up to encourage employers to improve how they recruit, retain and develop people with a disability. We joined the scheme because its principles are in line with ours. By joining the scheme, we’ve committed to:
Ensure our recruitment processes are inclusive and accessible
Communicate and promote vacancies to encourage applications from disabled people
Offer an interview to disabled people if they meet the minimum requirements for the job
Anticipate and provide reasonable adjustments as required
Support any existing employee who acquires a disability or long-term health condition, to stay in work.
As part of the scheme, we’re also now offering work experience placements. At Wallace Health we love working in medical communications and recognise the value it can bring to people everywhere. Our industry thrives by attracting talented and committed people. Through our work experience programme, we're looking forward to welcoming people who are interested in this area of work and helping them learn about the fulfilling careers it can offer.
Going beyond the checklist
Written commitments can be a helpful way of making sure that our actions are meeting the right standards. For us though, living up to our values should always go much further than that. Recognising and valuing diversity and being truly inclusive needs to be a core part of the way we think and the way we act. It’s not always easy, which is why having a culture of learning is also a core part of our purpose.
So, this month, as we celebrate Disability Pride we are thinking about and talking about what inclusion means and what more we can do. We are excited about what future opportunities lie ahead.
If you're interested in work experience at Wallace Health please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can mention the Disability Confident scheme in your email.