Students with Disabilities

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 to ensure you know what skills to develop and can learn about opportunities available for you.

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 may include career mentoring, volunteering, and options to work while you study

Positive Employers and Diversity Programmes

Some employers are part of the Disability Confident Scheme. This scheme has three levels of commitment and replaces the 'Two Ticks' scheme . These employers have made commitments to employing disabled people e.g. Some employers with the Level 2 commitment give a guaranteed job interview if you meet the essential requirements of the job. Here is the current list employers that are signed up.

Diversity or Positive action / inclusion schemes offer targeted support to encourage disabled students and graduates to apply for placements, internships, work experience and employment. Here are some examples of such schemes with individual employers:

BBC Extend        Motability Operations     Civil Service summer diversity internship programme

Finding Positive Employers

Companies might choose to show their support to diversity by signing up to specific charters or advertising through websites aimed at people with disabilities. Disability Confident is a government scheme which employers can sign up to and it has replaced the 'two tick' scheme. Business Disability Forum members have been awarded the 'Diversity Standard'. Mindful Employers supports people with a mental health condition to find or remain in employment. See the 'useful files' section on the bottom righthand side of this page for more information about finding 'mental health friendly' employers ('Starting Points: Mental health and Employment). The links on the right include recruitment organisations , websites and support organisations that help people with disabilities and long term medical conditions get into work. 

Equality and Diversity Internships Guide

This guide is annually researched by Sheffield Hallam University's Careers and Employability Service  and is a directory 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.

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.  If you decide to disclose your disability you have 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. See the 'useful files' section on the bottom righthand side of this page for more information about disclosing a mental health condition ('Starting Points: Mental health and Employment). 

Speakers  talking about 'disclosure'  who have attended the Careers and Employability Service:

 

Louise Alford - Recruitment Manager at Sheffield Hallam University

Megan Bean - PhD student

Challenging discrimination

It is often difficult to be sure whether you have definitely experienced discrimination. You begin to question whether your recruitment outcome has been as  a result of your skills and experience or your disability / medical condition. The Equality Act makes it clear that there are certain questions an employer is not allowed to ask in a job interview and that it is also their legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments where needed. Acas and The Equality Advisory Service are two organisations in addition to citizens advice that can help you determine whether you have a legal case to take to an employment tribunal.

 

Interviews

If you want to build your interview skills and confidence, then you may find it helpful to book a 121 appointment with SHU Careers Connect. Once you have an interview date, you can also book a 'practice interview' by giving us a call (0114 225 3752). You can also check out our interview skills page here.

If you experience interview anxiety, then why not check out our video which is all about 'managing interview anxiety' and was created as part of the Mind Talk webinar series for students with mental health difficulties. 

For students on the autistic spectrum, we've put together an online guide for you which you can view by clicking here.

Educational Awards

Two funds that are known to be available for students with disabilities is the motability operations scholarship programme for undergraduates and the snowdon trust scholarships for future leaders applying for postgraduate study.

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
  • workplace personal assistant 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. You need to apply via the website to a central government department or by phone / text phone. In order to make an application you would need to disclose your disability to an employer.  

Local Support Agencies

Jobcentre Plus employ Work coaches and specialist 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

Current jobcentre Plus programmes are called specialist-employability-support and  the work-health-programme

Other local agencies include:

Disability Sheffield - an advisory and information service. Supports all people residing in Sheffield. employment-factsheet available.

Remploy - provides specialist employment support (referral through the advisers at the job centre) - tel. 0300 456 8020

Last modified: 
Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 10:11