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  • I'm June Sarpong and I'm the author of Diversify.

  • I was disabled for four years of my life.

  • When I was a teenager, I was hit by a car,

  • didn't walk for two years, and then I

  • had to wear a neck brace for another two.

  • The thing that was just so strange about it

  • for me was the way people reacted towards me

  • after the accident.

  • The way people treated me, it was...

  • I almost saw a kind of dumbing down.

  • It was the most bizarre thing.

  • And I think that experience is what

  • has made me so passionate about this issue

  • because I wasn't any different as a person,

  • but the world certainly reacted to me in that way.

  • This is a quote from George Bush,

  • not somebody I quote often.

  • And this quote was in relation to African-American kids

  • in the inner cities but what he spoke about

  • was the soft bigotry of low expectations.

  • And that really applies for our disabled community.

  • We've looked at gender.

  • We've looked at BAME.

  • We're now looking at disability.

  • Could you imagine having 500 Sheryl Sandbergs,

  • leaning in for disability and with disability?

  • We would get this done.

  • If we want disability to be meaningfully at the business

  • table we need the leaders.

  • It's got to be the leaders.

  • The uncomfortable truth is, they don't exist.

  • I believe, and many do, that the diversity and inclusion

  • agenda is very difficult for business,

  • where we're pitting humanity against each other.

  • This year, we'll do gender.

  • We'll do race.

  • We'll ..do Next year, we'll do LGBTQ.

  • What are we talking about?

  • A la carte and pick-and-mix inclusion?

  • Are you kidding me?

  • Since when did we think it was OK to have a hierarchy

  • of exclusion or inclusion?

  • My name's Erin Boyce.

  • I work at Alliance Learning and I'm a business administrator,

  • currently an apprentice.

  • I'm registered blind.

  • I have a condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

  • Actually, I moved out of my parents' house about a week

  • after I left college.

  • I really felt determined to get out and start living

  • this new chapter of my life.

  • So that was in the July that I left and I moved out.

  • I thought my prospects were pretty

  • positive about getting a job.

  • And then I was applying to things

  • and I wasn't getting anything at all.

  • And at this point I was still putting my visual impairment

  • on my CV.

  • I felt like it was all framed in a positive way

  • and it shouldn't have put them off.

  • But I didn't get any kind of response at all.

  • Then in October I decided to take that off my CV

  • and I got two interviews that month.

  • And I didn't put it on again.

  • I went to 18 interviews.

  • And for most people that's the give-up point.

  • And I didn't because I really still wanted to work,

  • so I kept going for it.

  • But I know a lot of people who have given up,

  • and those are people that are perfectly able to work.

  • And if you reached out to them and you

  • said, hey, we know this employer is accepting,

  • we know that they are willing to make adaptations,

  • maybe you should apply to them, you're

  • going to get high-quality applicants because, actually, I

  • know in the case of visually impaired people in general,

  • there is actually a higher rate of them

  • going to university than the general public

  • because they know that their chances of getting a job

  • are much worse.

  • So they go into higher education more often.

  • I really do think it is a massive opportunity

  • for employers.

  • And it's something, being on the inside now,

  • having this opportunity to hopefully make a difference

  • if I can, having had my personal experience.

  • I'm trying now to actually get us to tap into that because I

  • think there are just... there's this massive amount

  • of high-quality applicants out there.

  • And they're more resilient.

  • They're more loyal.

  • When you've slogged through all these interviews

  • and you've had all these things said to you

  • and you feel like utter garbage, and then somebody treats you

  • like you're not a burden for once

  • and they're willing to make all these adaptations for you,

  • you know what you've got at that point.

  • So Alan, here we have the statistics

  • relating to disability and employment in Britain?

  • That's right.

  • Probably bleaker than any of the other data we've looked at.

  • Well, it depends how you look at it.

  • I mean, one thing I could say is we

  • could start with a good-news story, June,

  • which is that if you look at from when the figures

  • that we've got that we can go back as far as 2013,

  • there's a consistent trend in the employment

  • rate of disabled people.

  • Consistent increase, yeah.

  • Both for men and for women.

  • And in fact, the employment rate of women with disability,

  • you can see it's actually accelerated a little bit faster

  • than the employment rate for men with disability

  • and crucially has crossed this 50 per cent line

  • for the first time.

  • So the employment rate overall for both men and women

  • is now over 50 per cent.

  • But just over 50 per cent.

  • Just over 50 per cent, and so...

  • And we would not be celebrating that for any other group.

  • Exactly.

  • So in fact, that's exactly where this term, the disability

  • employment gap, pops up because that line now

  • looks slightly less impressive.

  • That's the same data we've just been looking at, starting at 0

  • and finishing at 100.

  • So this is the entire scale of the chart,

  • and you can see this is a very modest improvement.

  • But I mean, the real putting those numbers into context

  • really only happens when you put the employment rate for people

  • without disability on top.

  • OK?

  • And so you can see that there really is this...

  • this thing.

  • And this is what we're calling the disability employment gap.

  • And if you look at how those figures have

  • changed since 2013, there's been a modest narrowing of the gap.

  • It was 33.1 percentage points back in 2013.

  • It's now down to 28.9 per cent.

  • My name is Gemma-Louise Stevenson,

  • and I am a freelance reporter for Sky Sports.

  • Alongside my reporting, I'm also an athlete.

  • I don't like to stop.

  • I'm quite busy.

  • I just want to live life to the full,

  • and I want to make the most of life.

  • Oh, my god.

  • Yeah.

  • So Gemma, here we are at Sky, your place of work...

  • my place of work sometimes too, actually.

  • I'm going to ask you what sounds like a very dumb question.

  • But for employers, how do they advertise to disabled people?

  • So what is that?

  • What is the thing that they need to do to make it very clear

  • that this is who they're targeting?

  • I mean, I think for me, it's all very well having these training

  • schemes.

  • Like, I went through a training scheme myself.

  • However, it was a very negative experience

  • because the whole atmosphere wasn't inclusive originally

  • to start with.

  • OK

  • I they're a good idea, but I'm also very cynical of them

  • because you can have all these great, inclusive training

  • schemes to get people into the workplace,

  • to show them what it's like, to give them

  • experience so that they can then go in a job.

  • But if the workplace to start with

  • is not an inclusive workplace, you're

  • not going to retain those staff.

  • One thing I find about the Sky is, they're very inclusive.

  • They treat me as an individual.

  • I'm seen as a reporter first before a wheelchair

  • user who happens to be a reporter, which

  • is so important.