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Businesses from across the U.K. gathered in Manchester yesterday to address the untapped potential of thousands of disabled people in the North West. There are more than 500,000 disabled people of working age in the region who are currently not in employment.
Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning joined Falklands’ veteran Simon Weston at Disability Confident — one of the first conferences of its kind — to promote the talents of disabled people and their huge value to the North West’s economy.
The employment rate for disabled people in the U.K. has increased to 45% since the 1990s but the Government is working with employers to boost this further.
Mike Penning said: “Research shows that more disabled people cite employers' attitudes as a barrier to work than transport. One in five of us has a disability and although the employment rates for disabled people have increased gradually over the years, we know that all too often their talents are left untapped.”
Research also shows that there are significant benefits to employing someone with a disability. They can help increase the number of Britain’s 12 million disabled customers who use a business or service, and they tend to stay in their job for longer.
Simon Weston stated: “What I want employers to take away from this conference is that disabled people can be some of your best employees. We’re some of the most determined workers, who go the extra mile to secure results.
“To overlook the skills and talents of people because they have a physical or mental disability could ultimately cost you money,” he added.
CEO of Placeability, sister company of de Poel, Matthew Sanders said: “There are huge benefits to creating a diverse workforce and the North-West Disability Confident Event is an excellent opportunity to showcase the great work already taking place within some organisations.”