Synopsis: Information, definition and original meaning of the phrase Disability Confident. Includes tips on becoming a Disability Confident organization.
The phrase "disability confident" is steadily becoming more well known. But what exactly does it mean?
Disability Confident is the name of a campaign initiated by the U.K. Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) designed to help companies become more willing to employ disabled staff, by offering advice and breaking down unhelpful work-related myths. The Disability Confident campaign encourages employers to be positive about skills that people with disability bring to businesses and to remove barriers to recruiting and retaining employees with disabilities.
The U.K. Government launched their new Disability Confident campaign at a conference in London in July, 2013. A 2 year advertising campaign for the initiative was also unveiled at the conference which includes a series of supporting materials such as posters, case studies and templates. (See below for campaign material link). Since the launch the campaign has spawned a number of events around the U.K. supported by many well-known names such as paralympian Sophie Christianson and Falklands veteran Simon Weston, as well as companies including KPMG, Santander and Sainsbury's.
Though originally introduced by the U.K. government, the phrase is now also being used by others who have given their internal awareness training a similar label. When the phrase started to become popular, many people with disabilities mistook its meaning, thinking it referred to gaining more confidence in life.
Equal Approach, a leading inclusive recruiter and diversity consultancy in the UK, have been heavily involved in the Disability Confident campaign from the initial launch, following involvement in the launch of the campaign at the Disability Employment Conference in July 2013, where the campaign was launched. Upon making their pledge to the Disability Confident campaign Equal Approach have commented;
"We are proud to do things differently and will make diversity a commercially successful reality for our candidates and clients - We are proud to champion disabled talent and our commitment to the Disability Confident campaign is a reflection of that."
People with disability can be found in virtually every community on Earth, men, women, and children; employers and employees; students and teachers; indigenous and non-indigenous; customers and citizens. Becoming a disability confident organization means embracing inclusion. It's important for businesses to understand how people with disability relate to operations as a potential or existing employee, consumer, supplier or stakeholder.
In order to achieve significant disability targets and accessibility, it is crucial to ensure every level of your organization is trained and welcoming to people with disability.