Disabled Students

Degree level study can be a challenge for any student, and in a competitive job market students often need relevant work experience as well as a degree. When you have health issues or other barriers you may want some extra advice and support. We can help you develop a strategy to make sure you get the most from your time at university, and find out about support available through employment schemes, agencies and grants. Early career planning is important in order to make sure you have the right skills and experience  You will also need to think about whether or not you want to disclose your disability to employers, and how you want to do it.

Read our essential files to find out more about how we can help you during your time at university.  Make an appointment with an adviser to get support in choosing your career, jobseeking and making applications.   

Disclosing Disability

Disclosing your disability is a personal decision.  It isn't always easy to disclose to new people, but we can offer advice and support. Remember that you have rights under the Equality Act and employers must treat you fairly.  Disclosing your disability gives you the opportunity to present it positively, highlight your strengths, suggest what challenges you have already overcome and discuss any adjustments you might need to do your job effectively.

Getting Skills and Experience

During your time at university you will have lots of opportunities to get involved in activities that can enhance your skills.  These include career mentoring, volunteering, and options to work whilst you study.

Positive Employers and Diversity Programmes

Some employers are part of the Disability confident scheme. This scheme has three levels of commitment. This replaces the two tick scheme . These employers have made commitments to employing disabled people e.g. Level 2 commitment gives a guaranteed job interview if you disclose a disability and meet essential requirements of the job. You can find the list of employers who are signed up through the links on the right.

Diversity or Positive action schemes offer targetted support to encourage disabled students to apply for placements, work experience and employment. Here are some examples of such schemes:

BBC Extend      European Parliament Traineeships    Motability Operations     Employ-Ability

Finding Positive Employers

Some companies are members of the Business Disability Forum and have been awarded the Diversity Standard. This organisation supports companies in becoming accessible to disabled employees and customers, and may help you research companies that you might want to apply to. You may also want to look out for companies that have been accredited by Clearkit and are 'Clear Assured'. Mindful Employers supports people with a mental health condition to find or remain in employment.

Equality and Diversity Internships

There are a range of equality and diversity internships, events and programmes which are designed to encourage greater diversity within organisations and the sectors which they operate in. Click here to find out more about them.



Access to Work

This is a government funded grant which provides flexible and individually tailored support to allow disabled people to compete on equal terms in the workplace. It can provide the following types of support:

  • communication support / personal support at job interview
  • adaptations to equipment or premises
  • costs of travel if unable to use public transport
  • support worker or coach to help you in the workplace
  • support service if you have a mental health condition

To be eligible for the grant, you must be 16 or over and either:

  •  about to start employment
  •  in a paid job or self employed (does not include voluntary work or unpaid placement)

You can find out more on the Access to Work website. There is now one contact telephone number for the whole of the country - 0345 2688489. In order to make an application you would need to disclose your disability to an employer.  

Local Support Agencies

Jobcentre Plus employs disability employment advisers who can offer:

  • support to any disabled person in or out of work - including disabled graduates looking for work
  • disabled students looking for part-time work or work experience
  • support to sustain employment
  • advice on Access to Work and range of other programmes
  • advocacy, advice, occupational assessments
  • brief intervention eg. for low confidence/self-esteem/anxiety

To make a local appointment, telephone 0114 2033143/4.

Other local agencies include:

Remploy - provides work choice programme (referral through the advisers at the job centre) - tel. 0300 456 8020

Disability Sheffield - a membership and user led organisation run and controlled by disabled people.  Useful employment related factsheets.

Another provider of this programme in Sheffield is 'Work - Solutions' through the Shaw Trust - tel. 0114 350 3140

Disability disclosure event.

The Careers and Employability Service recently held an event where students were able to find out more about how to disclose their disability with confidence throughout the recruitment process.

The event was designed to give students further information about applying for jobs disclosing their disability, understanding their legal rights, considering the employer's perspective and making the most of specialised programmes to get into work.

Presenters at the event included Louise Alford, Recruitment Manager for Sheffield Hallam University, Zarah Khan from Big Ambitions who supports employers to become 'disability confident', Craig Pemblington from Change 100 Internships and Megan Bean, PhD student who detailed her experiences how she's disclosed her disability.

There was also an opportunity for students to speak to experts from across the university about an array of topics which were all designed to help them secure employment. 

To view the talks from the day, please click on the links below:


Louise Alford - Recruitment Manager at Sheffield Hallam University

Zarah Khan - Big Ambitions

Craig Pemblington - Change 100 Internships

Megan Bean - PhD student

Last modified: 
Friday, May 17, 2019 - 15:15