Students Staff
University of Essex

December 9, 2019

Disability History Month: Friday 22 November – Sunday 22 December

Filed under: Equality and Diversity,Inclusion — Tags: , — Victoria Beckwith @ 12:51 pm

It’s UK Disability History Month (UKDHM), and the focus for this year is Leadership, Resistance and Culture.

Throughout the month, UKDHM will examine how the leaders of the Disabled People’s Movement managed to change the way society viewed disability, from that of it being a personal burden to a human rights issue.

Our commitment to putting people at the centre of all we do reflects this, and our aim is to create a truly disability-inclusive environment through visible leadership, working with disabled staff and students to identify and remove the barriers they face and benchmarking our progress through engagement with external schemes.

We have a disability Inclusion Champion; Bryn Morris, Registrar and Secretary, carries out this role and provides leadership in this area. We have set up a small, informal working group of people who either have a disability or want to help create a disability-inclusive environment. Our Essex Access Forum, who are a discussion forum and consultation body working to support excellence in all aspects of physical and intellectual access at Essex, is represented on this group.

We have also signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme,which helps organisations to think differently about disability in relation to employment, retention, training and career development.

It aims to:

  • challenge attitudes towards disability
  • increase understanding of disability
  • remove barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions in employment
  • ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations

In addition we recently successfully renewed our Mindful Employer Charter, which demonstrates our commitment to creating an enabling environment for all of our members, and that as an employer we are positive about mental health.

We recognise that:

  • people who have mental health issues may have experienced discrimination in recruitment and selection procedures – this may discourage them from seeking employment
  • whilst some people will acknowledge their experience of mental health issues in a frank and open way, others fear that stigma will jeopardise their chances of getting a job
  • given appropriate support, the vast majority of people who have experienced mental ill health continue to work successfully as do many with ongoing issues.

If you are a recruiting manager, you should be aware of the responsibilities you have when recruiting applicants who have a disability. Please read our Recruiting applicants with a disability guidance and if you have any questions please get in touch with your HR contact.

Our occupational health services are available to provide support with any work issues relating to a disability. If you feel that you require OH services, please speak to your Line manager or your Employee Relations Advisor who will complete a referral form with you.

Occupational Health does not accept self-referrals to its service but you can send any questions you have to ohquery@essex.ac.uk

If you are interested in getting involved in access, disability and inclusion issues, you may join the Essex Access Forum.