How to Get a Job When You Have a Disability

If you have a health condition or a disability that affects your ability to work, you can get assistance and advice on returning to the workplace by speaking to a Work Coach at your local Jobcentre Plus. Whether you have just lost your job or have been out of work for a long time, a Work Coach is trained to be able to help you to find work or to gain new skills for a job. They can help with work preparation, recruitment, interview coaching and even confidence building.

If you are between the ages of 13 and 19 and you have a learning disability, your school is required to offer you career guidance, whether or not you have a Statement of Educational Needs (SEN).

The Work Coach can carry out an employment assessment to find out what kind of work would suit you best. By taking an employment assessment, you will be able to more easily identify your strengths and abilities and your Work Coach will be able to create a plan of action to help you meet your employment goals. To take an employment assessment you will first have an interview with your work coach and talk to them about any previous work experience, talents, skills, and your employment goals.

The length of time an employment assessment takes varies based on your individual needs and can last a half a day or longer. After your assessment, you will agree on a plan of action with your Work Coach, which may include training or they could recommend you take part in a programme such as Access to Work, Residential Training or Work Choice. The Work Coach can also provide referrals to a specialist work psychologist, if needed, for a more detailed employment assessment.

When you start looking for work, keep an eye out for the ‘positive about disabled people’ symbol with two ticks. This symbol is awarded by Jobcentre Plus to employers who have made commitments to employ, retain and develop the abilities of disabled staff. If you have a disability, you see this symbol on the job advert and also meet the minimum criteria for the job, you are guaranteed an interview with the company who will then consider you fairly on your abilities.
You have certain rights afforded to you if you have an illness or disability which are there to protect you from potential discrimination and these rights also apply in a job interview situation. The employer is only allowed to ask questions about your health or any disability if they are asking about any ‘reasonable adjustments’ you may require or to decide if you can do something which is an essential part of the job you are interviewing for. A reasonable adjustment in terms of the application and interview process may require the employer to provide documents in alternative formats such as audio CD’s. In terms of reasonable adjustments to the job, this may be a specialist piece of equipment you require.

You're not required to bring up your disability at your interview, but if you decide against it, you might not be able to make an official complaint about discrimination later on, should the need arise. Consider how you can discuss your disability positively, and highlight the skills and abilities you possess that make you a good candidate for the job.


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