Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed the Scottish Government’s latest campaign to tackle employment barriers – and encourages local businesses to recognise the many benefits of employing people with disabilities.
The latest figures show a welcome drop in the unemployment rate in Scotland to 4.4% – below the rate of 4.6% for the whole of the UK. However, only around 40% of working age disabled adults are in employment compared to over 80% of adults with no disability.
The campaign underway is targeted at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and highlights information and support on how to access this untapped talent pool.
Commenting, Linda said:
“The fall in the unemployment rate in Scotland to 4.4% is welcome – but a huge inequality still exists in that the majority of disabled adults are not in employment. People with disabilities already make a significant contribution to our economy; however, far too many just aren’t given an opportunity.
“This important campaign led by the Scottish Government seeks to dispel the myths – that employing disabled people is too costly, too difficult or will affect profitability. The reality is disabled people have a wealth of skills and talents which are too often unnoticed or ignored.
“By highlighting the clear benefits of diverse recruitment practices, I believe more small business, in particular, can help ensure a greater proportion of disabled people can become valued employees.”
Meanwhile, an internship programme for disabled people run by Inclusion Scotland will be opened up to SMEs for the first time, creating new avenues of work experience in the private sector.
Linda, who previously hosted 2 disabled interns through Inclusion Scotland’s ‘Access to Elected Office’ scheme, added:
“I previously participated in an Inclusion Scotland programme to help disabled people into politics. We had 2 interns with us in Parliament and in the local office – both bright lads who were a great addition to the team. I would encourage all small and medium enterprises to get involved and find out more about the practical and financial support available.”