Building an Inclusive Workplace

By Abi Luck
Monday, October 10, 2022

It was very exciting to host the Building an Inclusive Workplace event on 13th September, the second joint collaboration between the Careers and Disability Services at the London Campus, where three fantastic speakers were welcomed, each with fascinating subjects and perspectives to share. It was so pleasing to see a high number of students in attendance to learn more about this topic with which is essential to understand and engage in the ever-changing world of work.

Group photo of participants and speakers

Inclusivity is about ensuring that no one is excluded on the basis on race, background, gender, age, sexual orientation, belief or ability. The image below, shared by one of our excellent speakers, demonstrates inclusivity in action:

Three simple colour illustrations: first, three people with descending heights watch football behind a solid fence. The smallest can't see through the fence. Second, the same picture but with the two shorter people standing on crates. Third, the same as the first image but with a chain-link fence increasing visibility.

This brilliantly illustrates the point that making things equal does not always work for everyone! Individual differences require different measures to make things fair. Instead, removing the barrier itself allows everyone to access the same view.

The specific focus for the day was on how disability can be supported by employers to ensure that everyone can attain their full potential in the workplace. The speakers focused on two types of hidden disability in our first two sessions, with an amazing speaker from Mind, the mental health charity, first up, covering how mental health can be supported in the workplace. This really is essential learning for anyone planning to work in the caring professions, or as an employer in business.

Additional insight was gained into our own mental health and wellbeing too – increasingly important for the times we are living in! It was fantastic seeing our students engage with this subject. There were some excellent insightful questions, observations and contributions to the discussion. One student commented ‘it’s important to feel you work for a listening organisation’ and added that she felt UWTSD is a listening university with the support that is offered throughout.  

A student asking question in the talk from Mind

A speaker addresses a class with the screen next to them reading “Q–A”.

Two students having a discussion

The next speaker talked to us about neurodivergent conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD and Autistic spectrum disorders. It was really great to hear more about how workplaces can not only accommodate individuals with these types of diagnoses, but how many welcome these kinds of traits in individuals who can offer special skills, such as creativity and precise attention to detail, to their roles which neurotypical individuals may not.  

This speaker also informed us about getting funding in the workplace to help with a disability or medical condition. The route to doing this is via the Access to Work scheme.

There is also an organisation that can help with filling in the paperwork around this type of application, which can be challenging for many people. They are called This is Me Agency: Supported Employment Agency | This Is Me Agency

Our final speaker of the day talked some more about how many disabled candidates have special skills, experiences and unique perspectives that non-disabled candidates may not have. She only works with inclusive employers, linking them to highly talented individuals with disabilities. EvenBreak are an incredible organisation for anyone who wishes to learn more: Evenbreak | Accessible job search site for disabled people

A speaker addresses a class.

Dr Dhas talking to a group of students

 The organisers of the event, Abi, Carol and Maristela

Thanks again to everyone that attended our event, we do hope to host similar events in the future and welcome any ideas for speakers or organisations you may like to see next time!

Please note certificates will be available for those who attended at the beginning of term, more info to follow.