Regular readers of Able Magazine will already know that we recently launched our employment initiative, ‘Be the Difference’, with the specific aim of helping more disabled people find employment.

We want to match employers with vacancies and disabled people through the initiative.

Many disabled people remain frustrated and disenfranchised at the seeming lack of opportunity for them in the workplace. Be the Difference is an attempt to make a real change, working towards closing the gap.

We’ve been doing a lot of work to reach out to like-minded employers to join Be the Difference, giving them the opportunity to post jobs, share case studies and the latest news stories with Able Magazine readers to raise awareness of employers, specifically looking to employ disabled people.

The main aim of Be the Difference is to assist in matching disabled people with suitable, inclusive employers.

We also need your help

Part of the recipe for what we hope will be the success of Be the Difference will be disabled people that are inspired to look at trying to get into work – even if they’ve attempted it before. Proof of concept has already been established since we know that there are companies and organisations out their awaiting applications and CVs from disabled people. We want Be the Difference to be a factor in encouraging more disabled people to take what can be a daunting move and approach potential employers.

Furthermore, perhaps you know other disabled people, who for whatever reason, have become discouraged regarding their employment prospects. Wouldn’t it be incredible if they felt empowered to try again with Be the Difference? We’d certainly appreciate any support our readers could give to our initiative via word of mouth or social media and so on.

We feel sure that the organisations already involved with the initiative are more than committed and enthusiastic about the project and what it could mean for the employment landscape.

Support and advice

Disabled people that get in touch with Able Magazine will be signposted towards the most appropriate support organisations and employers. Able Magazine will make it easier for disabled people to not only find the support they need but also to make direct contact with the people who are striving to make their businesses or organisations more diverse and inclusive.

Able Magazine is the ideal forum to discuss disability-specific recruitment opportunities. We are encouraging businesses to be proactive in tackling what amounts to a recruitment crisis among disabled people by engaging with them via the initiative.

Able Magazine is positive about disability and has always been about ‘What disabled people can do, not what they can’t’. Be the Difference is an opportunity for us to make real change and is a challenge to other businesses and organisations to do likewise – but we also need disabled people to get on board, sharing their strengths, skills and enthusiasm.

We Want You!

The Challenge

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, 80.6% of able bodied people are employed, next to a meagre 38.2% of disabled people (aged 16 – 24) and 56.4% (aged 25 – 49). This huge disparity has hardly improved in a decade, despite plenty of promises and initiatives.

Partner news….

Closing the disability employment gap seen as ‘top priority’ at ERSA annual conference

Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) – the representative body for employment services – hosted a typically thought-provoking conference recently, with nearly 200 delegates and a range of high profile speakers. The conference centred on the future of employment, with closing the disability employment gap seen as a top priority.

Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton MP, opened proceedings with an emphatic address focussing on the Government’s work tackling social injustices. She highlighted her department’s work on disability and health, praising the Disability Confident scheme which supports employers to recruit and retain disabled people. She also referred to the recently launched Challenge Fund supporting people with musculoskeletal and mental health conditions into work.


Opening the afternoon session, however, Shadow Employment Minister Mike Amesbury, took a predictably different view, lamenting the Government’s slow progress on disability employment. He said more needs to be done to tackle inequalities and suggested large employers should be required to report their disability pay gap as they already do with gender.

However, it was the winner of ERSA’s Significant Achievement Award, Tom Sewell, who stole the show, sharing his experiences of working as a lab assistant in Exeter. Tom was supported into employment through the Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit employment scheme, after completing a six week placement.

Commenting on this year’s conference, ERSA’s Chief Executive, Kirsty McHugh said: “This year’s ERSA conference brought together leaders from across the employment support sector to debate some of the biggest political and economic challenges that lie ahead. It’s clear from the range of speakers from Government, Opposition and industry that closing the disability employment gap is a top priority. Whilst much more work needs to be done to achieve this aim, it is heartening to see so many people and organisations rallying around a shared aspiration.”

About the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

ERSA is the membership body for the employment support sector. Established in 2005, they campaign for and support the delivery of ever better services for the nation’s jobseekers and learners. They joined Be the Difference in 2018.

ERSA’s members deliver, or have an interest in the delivery, of the whole spectrum of employment related services, including skills provision, self-employment, welfare reform and disability-related issues, as well as the design and delivery of employment programmes. Their 270-plus members span the private, voluntary and public sectors, 77% of which are not for profit.