30 November 2016

Case study: Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield City Council is working with businesses and organisations across the city as part of a new campaign Opportunity Sheffield, Disability Works to generate new job opportunities for disabled people in the city.

Sheffield Hallam University is one of those who are leading the way.

Vic works at Sheffield Hallam University
Vic works at Sheffield Hallam University

Vic works part time at Sheffield Hallam University. She has myalgia encephalitis (ME). Vic said: “I started my current role six months ago and, so far, it’s been a great experience. I have had a lot of support and my manager has been genuinely caring and supportive for me as a person – not just as a tick box exercise.

“In comparison to previous employers, I feel like a valued member of my team as the focus is geared towards my contributions and attributes rather than any restrictions or the resources I need in place.

“I really enjoy being at work – I find my mental and physical health improves when I have a focus to my day. I really enjoy being part of a team and having that face to face interaction. I know that some people with disabilities worry about how they would fit in the workplace, but I would say, don’t worry just go for it. Look into what adaptations you may need within the workplace as this can help build your confidence. This way when you do find work, you can be prepared to inform people who may have little knowledge of your difficulties.

“For employers who are considering taking on someone with a disability, I would say be open, and understand that every person is different. Two people with the same condition may have very different needs, and not everyone declares a disability at application stage. Once they are employed, make sure the person knows they can talk to you whenever. This way you can build up a good relationship with your employee which makes talking about any additional support needed easier.”

Claire Ridall, is the Head of Management Services in Library and Student Support at Sheffield Hallam University and recruited Vic six months ago. Claire said: “From my perspective, it has been extremely important to keep an ongoing dialogue between us. Her contribution to the team has been significant and at no point have her adjustments been a problem. I know that sometimes Vic worried about this, but the happier that she feels, the better able she is to do her job and it has been lovely to see her confidence grow as she has settled into her role. I’ve learned a lot from working with Vic. Her attributes and drive for results are always at a high level, and I see part of my role as helping her to listen to her body to make sure that she feels supported while she works. I have also made sure she feels listened to, so that she can fulfil her role within the team.”

Councillor Leigh Bramall, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business and Economy said: “This example really highlights some of the benefits that employers can expect to gain from the talent that people with disabilities bring to their businesses. Our new campaign, Opportunity Sheffield – Disability Works, aims to ensure that all businesses understand the benefits that employees with disabilities can bring as well as the help and support that we as the council and our local partners can provide.

“We are committed to making sure that Sheffield is the fairest city in Britain. It is vital for the future prosperity of the city that everyone has a chance to access sustainable, good quality and fulfilling employment. We want to make sure that businesses feel confident in opening up any opportunities to people with disabilities.”

Opportunity Sheffield, Disability Works aims to help businesses in Sheffield who want to recruit, train and develop local talent – especially those with disabilities. It also supports people who may need additional help into employment.

If you are an employer and you want practical help and advice to recruit and retain people with disabilities now or in the future, then please register your details at www.sheffield.gov.uk/employdisabled talent or you can phone 0114 2760039.