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Work is good for you

Disability and work has been a theme this week.  I heard Chris Grayling outline his vision for supporting people with long term health conditions back into work, alongside progressive employers like BT who have helped hundreds with chronic conditions stay employed. But it wasn’t by accident that the conference was held at KPMG; the business case for such support will become increasingly compelling as disease incidence increases,  the workforce gets older and we retire later.

At the other end of the spectrum I watched Rosa Monkton’s moving programme, ‘Letting Go’ which charted the dearth of employment opportunities for young disabled adults. Fewer than one in five people with disabilities gets a job and most of those are unpaid – yet the Government seems blind to this lack of provision.

But there are some grounds for optimism. This week saw the launch of the Down Syndrome Association’s Work Fit programme, a new match making recruitment service for potential employers and young disabled adults.

And just as in the closing scenes of ‘Letting Go’, we witness Rosa Monkton’s daughter’s jubilation as she is accepted on a BTEC at the wonderful Chickenshed performing arts charity. I was lucky to witness firsthand the Chickenshed’s transformative power for those with a disability at their annual fundraising event last night. My heart soared.

So I urge the Government to listen to the outcomes of WorkFit and to learn from the success of the Chickenshed model – not just because enabling people with a disability to work is the morally right thing to do – but because there is a compelling business case to do so.

Cheryl Campsie          @forstercheryl