The Youth Voice Forum met for the second time on Tuesday (16th March) to discuss Disability, Additional Needs and Accessibility in the workplace. As a collective of young people connected to Youth Employment Group members – this group is an important part of giving young people a voice on policy decisions surrounding Covid-19.
The session was chaired by Laura-Jane Rawlings from Youth Employment UK and focused on the current support available for young people with disabilities looking to access work and to those in the workplace, what is currently in place to support young people and suggestions to support young people who have disabilities and additional needs in the workplace.
We heard from Youth Ambassador Harvey Morton who revealed his own experiences, from school through to managing his own business. Harvey explained that a lack of understanding by employers had led him to have to leave placements early, the advice he left the group was that it was good to focus on what can be done rather than what can’t be done.
Martin McLean (National Deaf Children’s Society) chair of the Disability Subgroup. Martin highlighted the need to remove barriers to participation in a range of government programmes, importance of targeted support for young disabled people and the legal requirement employers should be following for reasonable adjustments.
The Youth discussion highlighted that young people were scared to be transparent and disclose disabilities in case this led to being treated unfairly. Whilst they recognise the value that badges and accreditation could have, it was important that the whole organisation is living the values. Participants voiced the need for a nationwide effort to get employers to take up badges and accreditation but also ensure responsibilities associated are being upheld and employers are being held accountable
We heard good examples from young people on how they could be better supported by employers:
- Work with charities and services to identify young people and signpost to disability confident employers
- Adapt interview processes – one young person said that having an informal chat before the interview decreased nerves and anxiety.
- Make time to give candidates feedback on why they were not successful as this can be so helpful for future interviews or applications
- Make job descriptions clear
- Ongoing support and advice for employers making reasonable adjustments such as a resource hub or an information hotline
“I loved having somewhere I can speak out my thoughts on a subject that I am really passionate about. I really hope this makes an impact”
More about the Youth Voice Forum
The Youth Voice Forum (YVF) is chaired by four young people within the founding organisations. Organisations that retain YEG membership are welcome to invite young people to participate in the YVF.
The purpose of the YVF is to create a safe space for young people to come together and discuss the views, experiences & challenges that they face as a direct result of Covid-19. Here they also support the work that the YEG do and have an active voice in influencing policy. The YVF ensures policy responses genuinely reflect young people’s needs and perspectives by providing young people with opportunities to identify what changes need to be made and discuss solutions to the problems they themselves have identified.
If you want to find out more about joining the Youth Employment Group you can find out more and sign up here.