Disability - an introduction

In recent years, employers have recognised the untapped potential of graduates with disabilities and long term health conditions and are actively encouraging them to join their organisation. In the UK (but excluding Northern Ireland), the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to treat disabled people fairly, both during the recruitment process and in employment. Similar legislation is in place in other countries.

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. This includes depression, dyslexia, dyspraxia and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

AGCAS videos - Get that Job

Get that Job is aimed at supporting the transition of disabled students and graduates into employment. The programme features disabled graduates, employers and an adviser addressing a range of topics, including identifying disability-friendly employers; applying for work; disclosing a disability and adjustments in the workplace.

Disclosing/discussing a disability or long-term health condition

Deciding on whether or not to disclose a disability to an employer is an important decision and very much a personal choice. There are many resources available which may help you to make an informed decision on whether or not to disclose a disability, as well as how and when to disclose:

You are welcome to come in to see a careers adviser to discuss disclosing a disability or any other career matters.

Finding work experience

In addition to the many and varied work experience programmes available for any student, there are a number of internship and work experience schemes specifically aimed at students with disabilities:

  • Change100 is designed to support the career development of talented university students who consider themselves disabled. Undergraduates are matched to some of the UK’s leading companies as paid interns.
  • EmployAbility co-ordinates a range of internships on behalf of leading blue-chip as well as public sector organisations.
  • Disabled Gap Years - a database of gap year organisations, advice and case studies aimed at young people with disabilities
  • BBC – Extend Scheme Extend is a BBC-wide placement scheme which offers appropriately experienced and/or qualified disabled people a great opportunity to gain six months paid work within the BBC in many challenging and imaginative placements across the country, in both programming and support areas.
  • The Civil Service Fast Stream: Summer Diversity Internship Programme is for students from disadvantaged, disabled and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Visit Internships & work experience for general advice and links on finding work experience in the UK and worldwide.

Finding (graduate) jobs

  • EmployAbility co-ordinates a range of graduate recruitment programmes on behalf leading blue-chip as well as public sector organisations
  • Diversity Jobs only displays jobs from employers who understand the value of building a diverse workforce
  • Evenbreak is a not-for-profit social enterprise which matches disabled candidates with employers who value diversity.

Visit Graduate Jobs for general advice and links on finding work experience in the UK and worldwide.

How to find disability-friendly employers

When considering career options you may want to research potential employers who actively encourage individuals with a disability to apply, supporting them fully as employees. What does the employer say (or not say) in recruitment information? Does the website or company literature include a policy statement on equal opportunities and profiles of employees with a disability?

The following websites have lists of disability-inclusive employers:

  • Look out for the ‘two ticks’ Disability Symbol  on job advertisements,
    Padp logo.jpg
    awarded by the JobCentre Plus. This symbol means the employer has made some commitment to employing disabled people, such as guaranteeing a job interview for disabled applicants, if they meet the minimum job criteria.
  • Is the company a member of the British Disability Forum? This is a leading employer membership organisation focusing on disability as it affects business. It has members from sectors including IT and telecoms, media, manufacturing, education, financial services and local government. See their website for a full list of member organisations.
  • DiversityJobs.co.uk connects people to employers who place high importance on a mixed staff population.
  • Employability lists disability-inclusive employers
  • Have a look at Mindful Employer:signatories for employers who are positive about mental health.
  • My Plus Students' Club (formerly Great with disability) lists disability-friendly organisations on their website

Many disability-inclusive employers advertise their vacancies via CareerConnect. Check regularly to see what’s new.

How we can help

A careers adviser would be happy to meet with you to talk through your situation and support you in realising your career aspirations. There is a lot of support available, from outside the university, for people with a disability. A careers adviser can support you in making sense of it and finding the most relevant information for your situation. Careers advisers work with students at all levels, from any subject, with any or no particular thoughts on their future career. See a careers adviser.

The University Advice and Support Centre (ASC)

The University has two full-time Disability Advisers who advise students with physical disabilities, sensory impairments, unseen medical conditions, mental health difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Disorders. In addition to the Disability Advisers, there is a part-time Dyslexia Adviser who advises students with learning difficulties. Contact the ASC for further details.

Useful websites and resources