Employers urged to be ‘Disability Confident’

By GEM Community Correspondent in Local People

Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon hosted a ‘Disability Confident’ event along with the DWP last week at the Heronston Hotel, Bridgend.

Employers from the Bridgend constituency were invited along to hear three keynote speakers: Steve Thorn, president of CGI; Gareth Dawe, DWP disability and policy lead; and Bob Williams from Espack Eurologistica, who all spoke about the financial, operational and social benefits of being a Disability Confident employer.

Mrs Moon said: “It was good to see so many local companies interested in being involved. Steve Thorn was inspirational, talking about his own experience of disabilities and the initiatives that CGI have in place for all of their staff.

“Steve stressed that an important part of retaining a disabled workforce is about providing a place for peer to peer support.

“The company has a ‘Capability Network’ which is growing in interest, sharing stories, providing mutual support and developing confidence in managers and colleagues.”

CGI has network groups for mental health, caring, dyslexia and stammering, and expects the list to grow.

Steve has been personally recognised for championing Disability in Business at the 2016 Disability-Smart Awards.

Gareth Dawe from DWP gave information on the support available from Jobcentre Plus, including the Small Employer Offer, Access to Work, Community Partners and Journey to Employment initiatives.

There was also the opportunity for networking with other local businesses and to meet staff from the many support organisations, such as Hafal, PACE, Remploy Cymru; BCBC; Elite; Shaw Trust and Working Links.

Bob Williams closed the event with his personal experience of living with a family member with a disability. Having previously been employed as logistics manager for Fords, he joined Espack and employed Remploy staff who had been made redundant – a move that has proved successful for the company and the workers.

If any more companies are interested in becoming a Disability Confident employer they should contact: DWP or see the following website https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident

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