Supporting disabled students with careers
Finding work when you have a disability can seem like a daunting prospect. The Careers Service is here to help!
From wondering how employers will react, to knowing what adjustments to ask for during the application and interview stage, it can all add to what can already be quite a stressful experience.
However the law is there to protect your rights and there are lots of other organisations that support you and businesses to ensure that you are able to access work opportunities.
To access a variety of careers appointments, events and resources, register on mycareer.leeds.ac.uk.
Searching for work – what to look out for
Most employers have a policy and are positive about recruiting and retaining disabled people. Some employers make this clear by signing up to schemes such as the Disability Confident employer scheme, the Business Disability Forum and Mindful Employer's Charter for employers who are positive about mental health. However, just because employers are not signed up to these schemes doesn’t mean they are not positive in supporting disabled applicants or employees.
Some useful things to research about a potential employer:
See if they have the disability confident symbol to show they encourage applications from disabled people
Check if the job advert affirms that they are an equal opportunities employer
Look at their equal opportunities policy on their website
Check if they offer application forms in different formats or mention adjustments for applicants, with disabilities, on their website or in the job advert.
Applying for a job
There are a number of websites that specifically promote opportunities for disabled people.
We have partnered with EmployAbility to ensure that you are supported with any applications you make.
Register on the website to access:
Internships, graduate programs, insight days, webinars and events with inclusive employers
Advice and support on the adjustments you may need for the recruitment process and the workplace
An advocate on your behalf with any potential employer
These services are completely free and confidential, contact a member of the team directly at email@example.com if you need support. Remember to keep an eye on future communications from EmployAbility via Disability Services, the Careers Service or on Instagram.
Other useful resources:
Disability Rights UK – Disability Rights UK is the UK’s leading organisation led by, run by, and working for Disabled people.
Even Break – UK’s most accessible job board to connect the employers and disabled students.
Vercida – There are lots of different employment sectors looking for people with the skills and talents you possess. Rest assured that all the companies listing with us are committed to inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace.
Disability Jobsite – Disability Jobsite assists disabled people to participate actively in employment and plays a critical role in supporting disabled people on the pathway to work.
MyPlus Students' Club – MyPlus Students’ Club provides essential careers advice to the 16% of disabled students or long-term health condition*. We work with top graduate employers and university services to help students realise their career potential.
These websites promote specific opportunities but this should not put you off using other job sites too.
Once you have applied for a job you need to decide whether you will be open about your disability, if so, at what stage will you be ready? If you are ready you will be able to discuss any adjustments you might need to enable you to perform to your full potential during recruitment and if you are appointed to the role.
As a Next Generation Inclusive University, our commitment to disability inclusion and equity is at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are proud to receive the Inclusive University partnership badge with EmployAbility which demonstrates our commitment to a level playing field for disabled students and graduates.
We’ve created a pack full of disability and employability resources. You can also follow the Careers Service on Instagram. We post informative content that can help with your career, for example take a look at our post on reasonable adjustments in the recruitment process.
Looking to speak to someone? Our Mentoring and Widening Participation team is committed to helping underrepresented students. Chat to one of our Employability and Progression Assistants about your career plans or find out how one of our mentoring schemes can benefit you and your future.
The University of Leeds has a range of help and information for disabled students, including academic support, access this on the Disability Services page or via the Student Advice Centre. You can also follow Disability Services on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates and information.