Businesses urged to sign up to disability employment programme

Lesley Laird MP is backing Leonard Cheshire’s innovative Change 100 programme to help more people with disabilities into employment.

The charity’s Change 100 programme brings together top employers and talented disabled students and graduates to offer three months’ paid work experience.

Following a visit to Leonard Cheshire in Glenrothes, where she met manager Isobel Thomson (pictured, left), Lesley Laird urged Fife employers to get on board.

Lesley said: “It makes absolute economic sense for employers to recruit the most talented  candidate to help their business succeed.

“Conversely, it makes no business sense to reject that candidate simply on the basis that they have a disability – but, sadly, this can happen when firms don’t feel ‘disability confident’.

“Change 100 offers outstanding mentoring and peer support to instil that confidence – so much so, all businesses which took part in the programme wholeheartedly recommended it to others.

“I’m urging employers in Fife to find out for themselves what Change 100 can offer and give disabled people a chance to prove what they’re capable of.”

Since its launch in 2014, the programme has worked with over 90 employers across the UK to host interns, including Standard Life, Skanska and Taylor Wimpey.

Change 100 aims to broaden people’s understanding of what disability is, as well as highlight the fact that graduates with disabilities are talented, ambitious and would thrive in all business sectors.

The Change 100 programme won the prestigious Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Award in 2016 and has been praised for breaking down the barriers which prevent many people with disabilities from entering or progressing through the employment market.

Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s Director Stuart Robertson said: “Our Change 100 programme breaks down barriers to employment for disabled graduates.

“Given that people with disabilities are nearly four times more likely to be unemployed by the time they reach the age of 26 than non-disabled people, Change 100 can truly transform lives.”

To register or find out more about the Change 100 programme visit: www.leonardcheshire.org/support-and-information/life-and-work-skills/employment-programmes/change100