Construction sector network roundtable round-up

construction-sector brighter

Earlier in June our second construction network roundtable took place at HS2 with the aim of sharing ideas and innovations in the sector, chaired by Adrian Ward and Karan Snuggs.

Pamela McInroy, Diversity and Inclusion Manager from High Speed Two (HS2) spoke about the linkage between Health and Safety and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and how a fully inclusive site helps achieve a safe site and how this applies across all protected characteristics.

Maria Grazia-Zedda, EDI Workforce Manager at HS2 spoke about the approach that HS2 are taking to ensure inclusive recruitment, and how HS2 are using Gap Jumpers to help with some of their recruitment. “Did you know that 1/3 of the construction workforce will retire in the next 10 years? It makes sense to share practices that are disability friendly.”

Laura Crandley Executive Director Partnerships at Leonard Cheshire informed the group about the work of Leonard Cheshire and in particular focused on the organisation’s Change 100 initiative which is aimed at students and graduates with disabilities or long-term conditions.

Leonard Cheshire are looking for more employers to support this work and members of the construction network are encouraged to liaise with Laura should they wish to get involved with this initiative.

If you are a Member or Partner of Business Disability Forum in the construction industry and would like to be involved or would like more information, please contact Adrian Ward (adrianw@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk) and Karan Snuggs (karans@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk)

 

Why our response to London’s car-free day is about more than just inaccessible transport

Angela Matthews, Business Disability Forum

Angela Matthews

Angela Matthews, Head of Policy and Research

For those who have not been following our transport-related activity during the last week, we spoke out about how Sadiq Khan’s announcement of a car-free day in London has given no visible consideration to its impact on disabled people.

The announcement of a day to “promote walking, cycling, and use of public transport” is striking since recent campaigns have highlighted the frequent obstructions on pavements disabled people experience, and the inaccessibility of public transport disabled people experience every day. This also comes shortly after Department for Transport’s launch of the Inclusive Transport Strategy and their revision of the Blue Badge Scheme, which has been updated to be more inclusive to people with disabilities and conditions which are less immediately visible to others.

But, not only are many disabled people prevented from having clear, accessible streets to navigate or from using transport that is reliably accessible on a car-free day, they are also prevented from taking part in a public awareness campaign that is about London’s air pollution – and I’m quite sure even some disabled people are concerned about our environment.

This brings us to another fundamental cause for concern that emerges from this debate: the exclusion of disabled people from public social action campaigns. Disabled people’s representation in environmental activism is not a new issue. ‘Green’ movements have increasingly acknowledged the shift that is needed in making this global campaign accessible to everyone. Environmental activist groups and organisations have acknowledged what we would have previously called the “business case” for making their campaigns accessible to disabled people; that is, simply, if they make their campaigns accessible, millions more people can be involved, meaning the bigger and more likely their campaign is to succeed.

This ‘no brainer’ approach only skims the surface. There is a more critical issue at root here. If social action is not open (that is, accessible) to every person in our society, it is not inclusive, democratic, or representative. There is no equal citizenship – for any of us – until everyone is enabled to take part. For a Government in a country which is said by others to excel in human rights and which is hailed for how far we have come in terms of disability inclusion, we have got this car-free day radically wrong.

Denying participation by inaccessibility to even one person, let alone a whole ‘group’ of people, is the active silencing of voices. And we need to consider, is this really who the UK want to be?

Read information about our accessible transport survey, open until 10 July 2019

Further thoughts from Business Disability Forum on inclusive transport:

Why should you attend our Career Development Course?

Business Disability Forum in association with the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh is delighted to be able to offer new career development courses specifically designed for disabled people. The programme will be delivered by highly experienced personal development coach and Business Disability Forum Ambassador, Phil Friend and his non-disabled colleague Dave Rees, a trained expert in neuro linguistic programming.

Read about Jack Whyman Farina’s experience – in his own words – of the programme below:

“I work for RBS in Finance as a Reference Data Manager. We look at the systems and general ledger of the bank and end to end systems to ensure everything is going smoothly. If everything is working you shouldn’t need to know we exist

When it was first suggested to me that I should go on Phil Friend’s career development course for disabled employees I didn’t think I would get much from it, I was quite content and didn’t think there was much for me to learn. It was talking to one of the co-chairs of ENABLE, the staff disability network that changed my mind. If a senior manager like him had found it useful who was I to say no to going? He said the course had given him a greater understanding about other people. Learning more about empathy made him approach situations differently and he felt it gave him an additional string to his bow.

Expectations

I wasn’t 100% sure what I was expecting from the course. I was a little worried that it was going to be a bit too basic. I was content with who I was. I’ve contacted organisations outside RBS for advice such as the Number 6 Autism Initiative charity in Edinburgh where I met someone who helped me to understand my diagnosis of Asperger’s. Basically I didn’t have high expectations of the course.

My biggest fear was that it would all be classroom style learning. At school I found this style of teaching really difficult because I learn in a very interactive and cognitive way. I have dyspraxia as well as Asperger’s so a “copy and paste into your notebook” way of learning really doesn’t work for me. At school, homework that should have taken twenty minutes took me two hours. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Phil and David, his co-trainer, involve everyone from the outset and the whole course is completely interactive.

Challenges

People with Asperger’s stereotypically find empathy difficult and I found this the most challenging part of the course. I was feeling quite content with who I was but I was with individuals, all at different levels within the bank who were at very different stages of their impairment. Some were very raw and upset and others, like me, were happy and content with their lives. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to empathise because I wouldn’t understand their situation. I think the dictionary definition of empathy is very arrogant. How can anyone know how someone else feels?

Jack Whyman Farina - a man looking to his right

Jack Whyman Farina

Revelations

I still don’t believe I know how others feel but the biggest breakthrough for me was learning about the Kubler-Ross Grief Curve on the course. Phil and David showed us a visual bell curve and graph. The Kübler-Ross model talks about the five stages of grief that most people experience when faced with any sort of loss such as a bereavement or relationship breakdown, job loss or acquiring a disability. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

It was a revelation for me and I learned too that I’m different. I go from shock to acceptance skipping the other stages and then move onto how to get on with it. This struck me so hard because they explained by way of an example. If there are going to be redundancies in an organisation, the manager gets told first. They then go through the curve earlier and are ahead of staff who find out later so when their staff are going through denial and anger, the manager might have moved onto acceptance and will want people to get on with it when they are not ready. People need time to go through the curve in their own time. This was huge for me because I don’t go through that curve but I got to see what a neuro typical person would go through. This helped me to see that although I think I’m being constructive and moving forwards, others might need longer to go through stuff in their head.

People on the course were at different stages in their lives. We all learned the same information but everyone took something useful away from it. The course worked for people who had just acquired their impairment through to people like me who had a lifelong condition. That was why it was so impressive

I would 100% recommend this course to other disabled people. I have a mentee who has Asperger’s and I’ve signed him up for the course. He’s probably not as far through the cycle as I am and still feels nervous about his condition. I took so much from that course and for him to be able to get those things that I’ve tried to say to him re-affirmed in a far more eloquent way will really assist him.

Next steps

Since the course I have been promoted from Systems Analyst to Reference Data Manager. That was not all Phil’s doing, I played a part (!) but the course helped me to articulate things I was already confident that I could do. As a Manager I can now cascade what I’ve learned to the team. It’s not about saying things exactly the way Phil did but evolving and taking what was on the course and putting it in my own words. I use stories from my own life to help other individuals with their work and environment.

I was diagnosed quite late when I was 22. I’m only 25 now. The reason I got diagnosed was because of my partner. There were things I didn’t understand about her and that she didn’t understand about me. My diagnosis was an Epiphany. It allowed her and me to do some research and work out how we should go forward and deal with each other. We now have an amazing relationship and hardly ever argue and when we do, it’s very matter of fact and we agree to disagree. That was a huge moment in my life and I feel like this course was the next chapter. It took me from a basic to an intermediate level in my understanding of myself and to the next level of growth.”

Find out more about the Career Development Programme here 

Identity through the lens of disability: Business Disability Forum Film Festival 2019! 

By Ebunola Adenipekun, Business Disability Forum

Anticipation was high before this June’s Business Disability Forum’s Film Festival – and the day didn’t disappoint!

This year the question that would spur the film entrants on was:

“Identity through the lens of disability, what does this mean to you?”

Noeleen Crowley far left, Diane Lightfoot left. Oliver Kent right, Neil Shanlin right and Lucy Ruck. There is also a BSL interpreter

Noeleen Crowley far left, Diane Lightfoot left. Oliver Kent right, Neil Shanlin right and Lucy Ruck

Entrants had 10 days to complete this film challenge and the resulting ones were judged from the world of advertising, film and TV, professional services and disability: Oliver Kent, a former BBC producer, Neil Shanlin, Creative Director/Creative at AMV BBDO, Noeleen Cowley, Partner, Banking Operations and Customers at KPMG and Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum.

Popcorn and candy floss

Popcorn and candy floss

Popcorn and candy floss was consumed in abundance as the winners were announced at this year’s festival hosted by KPMG and prize donors reached far and wide from companies such as Amazon, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Shell, 1stAveMachine and Flare Studios.

Prizes at this year's festival

Prizes at this year’s festival

Our highly commended films were awarded to: ‘Don’t give up’ – Magdalena Stahrova (Unique) and ‘The Only Way’ by Valentina Catenacci, both winning prizes of an Amazon Firestick and £50 Amazon vouchers donated by Amazon.

Highly commended Magdalena Stahrova, a camera man is ataking the photo of her with accompanying guests

Highly commended Magdalena Stahrova (right) with accompanying guests

Third place was awarded to the creators of the film ‘No Guesses Found’, entered by team ELK Medium (Georgie Cubin and Jane Leggat), exploring how dyslexia affects people differently, and highlighting that there is no universal experience of disability. They won two Amazon echo dots, two firesticks, as well as Amazon vouchers donated by Amazon.

Second place was awarded to the team JRZ (John Ford, Ritesh Vara and Zoe Norgrove) who entered with the film ‘Four’. The film explores the world from the perspective of someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). They won three days’ work experience opportunity with Flare Studio, a drone, £50 Amazon vouchers from Amazon and three HD firesticks.

And *drumroll please*…

First place winning entry ‘Same Difference’ was created by Samuel Ash and William Horsefield (also known as team Wolfpack). ‘Same Difference’ is based on their experiences of deafness. They won three days’ work experience with film production company 1stAveMachine, GoPro HERO Action Camera, donated by Shell, drone, as well as £100 Amazon vouchers donated by Enterprise Rent -a- car and £50 Amazon vouchers donated by Amazon.

Winners Samuel Ash (left) and William Horsefield (right) holding their awards, There are film props behind them.

Winners Samuel Ash (left) and William Horsefield (right)

“Now”, “powerful”, “fun” and “human” were some of the words used to describe some of the films on the day.

Neil Shanlin said: “I was impressed with the overall level of work. Every single story was one that was worth telling and I saw respect for me as the viewer. The films were a great representation of what it is to be in Britain today.”

After the films were watched, the crowd enjoyed networking (taking photos alongside the hypersized film props) and delicious canapés, talking about the impact the films had on them. Film Festival goers were also able to enjoy an exhibition of photographic work by Helen Light and Laurie Glees, two students from Morley College, London.

20190618_124554

Film props

The standard of the films continue to grow higher every festival – we really look forward to seeing you next year!

People are talking to each other at Business Disability Forum's Film Festival 2019

Networking at Business Disability Forum’s Film Festival 2019

 

View all the finalists’ films in one place – here!

View our press release here!

To find out more about our events, go to https://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/networking-and-events/

Learning disability: shifting the dial on employment

Diane Lightfoot, Business Disability Forum

Diane Lightfoot

Diane Lightfoot

Identity means very different things to different people and it can change many times in a lifetime.

Our Identity is shaped by our experiences and the world around us.

It’s also shaped by what we do every day; one of the main ways that most of us define ourselves is through our job and one of the first things we tend to ask when we meet someone new is “what do you do?” or even “where do you work?”.

For too many disabled people, that’s a really difficult question to answer. But for most people with a learning disability, it’s impossible. Though the figures for the employment of disabled people overall have crept up to 51%, those for the employment of people with a learning disability remain at a woeful 6% – as compared to over 80% employment for working age adults as a whole.

So, to mark this year’s Learning Disability Week, I wanted to shine a light on what’s needed to change this.

A confession: I have a particular interest here, having worked for a learning disability charity for 13 years before joining Business Disability Forum. During those 13 years, it struck me that work – good work – is, for many people with learning disabilities, the most genuine form of inclusion there is. It’s something many of us are lucky enough to be able to take for granted and so we probably don’t think of all the myriad benefits of work when we begin our commute each morning. It’s not just about paying the rent or mortgage (though few would argue that’s pretty important!) but also a social group, emotional support – a natural way of building the “circles of support” that are so often talked about for people with learning disabilities), self-esteem and yes, identity.

At Business Disability Forum, we work with organisations across all sectors to help them get better at recruiting retaining disabled employees and serving disabled customers. Our 300 members employ around 15% of the UK workforce and around 8 million people worldwide. But what we are ultimately here for – I believe – is to transform the life chances that disabled people have as employees and consumers – and includes people with a learning disability.

I’ve been at BDF for 2.5 years now and one of the things I am pleased to see is increased interest and focus on recruitment rather than just retention. Skills shortages in sectors such as construction mean that employers are recognising the need to reach the widest possible talent pool.

So how can you get better at employing people with learning disabilities?

When recruiting, think about what you really need for the job. We’ve all been there when someone in our team leaves and we think we must get the vacant post filled as soon as possible; yesterday, ideally. So it’s all too easy to dust down the old job description and person spec and even the old advert, give it a quick once over and do exactly what you did to recruit last time.

But what if you took a step back?

What if you paused for a moment to think about whether you really need those qualifications or three years’ experience or a driving licence or whether someone might be able to demonstrate to you that they can do the job another way? What if you thought about the outcomes you need from the job and whether they might be achieved differently? It’s also about challenging your frame of reference; the Maynard Review made recommendations to the entry level for apprenticeships to open them up to people with learning disabilities by waiving the requirement for Maths and English GCSE. That’s great news. But I’m willing to bet that the people who originally set the entry criteria weren’t trying to set them high to exclude people with a learning disability! They probably thought they were setting them at a really attainable level. So, its’ worth challenging yourself about what you really need.

Then, when you advertise, make sure you offer alternative formats including easy read (simple text supported by pictures). It’s also vital to make sure any sifting process – whether automated or human – doesn’t automatically screen out people with a less traditional CV or one that has gaps as this may well exclude people (not just with a learning disability) who for whatever reason haven’t had the opportunity to build their portfolio.

And once at assessment, it’s about testing the right skills. I don’t know many people who actively love interviews but for some people with a learning disability (or indeed who are neurodiverse) may really struggle with the traditional panel format. Offering a work trial – which is legally a reasonable adjustment – gives people to demonstrate the skills they will need to show in the workplace.

Once in the job, inclusive onboard such as buddying schemes of “week one mentors” for new employees with a learning disability can really help with orientation and helping someone get used to their new role and environment. And other approaches such as job carving (where you remove an aspect/s of a job that someone may find a barrier – for example dealing with money) or Training in Systematic Assumption (TSI) where a job is taught by breaking processes down into individual component tasks – can make all the difference in an employee with a learning disability thriving at work. Our Advice Service recently worked with a large employer to understand why people with learning disabilities were being recruited into the organisation but not successfully completing the probation period. We found that passing the probation period was dependent on every employee scoring well in a comprehensive health and safety training exercise. The health and safety training was generic and not tailored to job roles. When we tailored the health and safety assessment to the employee’s specific role, the employee passed his probation and remained successfully in post.

There are still challenges; people with learning disabilities are among those most impacted by the Access to Work cap. Whilst the cap has been raised, it still remains a barrier for people who require “human support” a work – and that might be the difference in being able to afford a job coach for an employee with a learning disability or not.

There are challenges too in raising aspirations, well before the workplace. Far too many young people with a learning disability are still growing up without the encouragement to – let along the expectation of – working. Job readiness needs to keep pace with the changing landscape of entry level jobs – the dwindling of supermarket checkout roles being an obvious example – and the changing requirements of employers. Equally, employers need to be open to doing things differently and to understand a work trial is not only a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act, but is also, for many jobs, a far better measure of whether someone can actually do a job as opposed to telling you about it.

This Learning Disability Week, let’s work together and shift the dial on those woeful statistics once and for all.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum

 

To mark Learning Disability Week, we are offering a 25% discount on two year intranet licences on a resources bundle to include our Learning Disabilities Briefing, Managing Difficult Conversations and Line Manager Guide on Non-visible Disabilities. Please contact our publications team on +44 (020) 7089 2430 or email publications@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk” to find out more and to order your bundle.

Be part of the inclusion revolution – accessible HR software survey: now open!

Lucy Ruck, Business Disability Forum

Global business leaders are tasked with one universal goal – to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace while driving performance, productivity and efficiency. In the context of an ever-evolving digital business landscape, CEOs are increasingly looking to HR to spearhead the digital transformation process to achieve this goal.  

That’s why many organisations choose to invest in HR software solutions, or as they’re commonly referred to, Talent Management Suites (TM Suites), to engage employees and help them to be more strategic and productive. These tools can be immeasurably useful to seamlessly share information, open up communication, develop employee competencies as well as help HR professionals to plan for, attract and retain a blossoming workforce.

A bird holding the clipboard with the writing that says "Want to be a part of the inclusion revolution?"

Designed to improve workforce engagement, collaboration, and development by allowing staff to complete tasks such as expense reports, performance reviews and setting goals or connecting with new team members as part of the on-boarding process, TM Suites need to address the core assistive technology features that enable all employees to participate in the very best way they can.

What we hope to achieve

Business Disability Forum and Texthelp have seen first-hand the tangible benefits of developing truly accessible applications from the ground-up, and we want to use the survey to create a clear and up-to-date picture of accessibility and the user experience within HR software solutions.  

We will use the findings to develop what we hope will be one of the most informed pieces of research on the topic, helping us to understand how we can meaningfully include everyone in the workforce through HR software solutions with built-in accessibility.  We are also keen to utilise the results to explore how organisations can realise the untapped benefits of prioritising accessibility within HR software to help everyone achieve their full potential.

Survey details

The survey is quick and easy to complete and will help us to further our understanding of the user experience and current accessibility within TM Suites, as well as identify areas of success in terms of accessibility.

We are calling on anyone with experience of TM Suites, either as a user or administrator, to take part in the short survey.

Findings from the survey will be circulated through the Business Disability Forum newsletter and the Texthelp and Business Disability Forum social media channels / websites.

Respondents will remain confidential, however, the opening questions of the survey will aim to determine both the size of the organisation and industry sector that you represent.   If you complete the survey and don’t mind us getting in touch for further information on your responses please provide us with your contact details at the close of the survey.

Support the inclusion revolution by taking our short survey today.  The survey closes at 8am on Tuesday 9th July 2019.  

To complete the survey in a different way email n.branagh@texthelp.com

 

Identity: through the lens of disability, what does that mean to you?

Ebunola Adenipekun, Business Disability Forum

 

 

Following on from the 10 day film challenge Business Disability Forum set earlier in the year: “Identity through the lens of disability, what does that mean to you?” our Film Festival is taking place on Tuesday 18 June 2019 in London, hosted by KPMG, compered by Lucy Ruck, Business Disability Forum, Technology Taskforce Manager

By attending and watching these films, you’ll be gaining insight into today’s students and graduates who represent the future of the workforce and disabled talent.

Take a look as we show you a sneak peek of the finalists’ films you have to look forward to:

Our first film ‘IV’ looks at the role obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety can play in our lives. The team behind the film ‘JRZ’ were highly commended in our 2018 film festival.

JRZ

Our second film ‘No Guesses Found’ gives an insight into the lives of young people with dyslexia and how they navigate the world around them. The team who created the film ‘ELK Medium’ make their directing and production debut at our Film Festival this year. 


ELK Medium


Our third film ‘Same Difference’ is by ‘Wolf Pack’ and profiles the team’s two Deaf film makers and their similarities and differences. Wolf Pack were our winners in 2017 and runners up in 2018, and we’re really excited to see them in 2019!


Wolf Pack
So bring your colleagues and come along to enjoy the festivities over: canapés  drinks including wines, beers and refreshing juices, candy floss and popcorn.

All while watching these amazing films and networking.

This promises to be the best Film Festival yet!

This event is not to be missed! 

Book your place today!