Companies that do not employ people with disabilities are missing out.

This is the message of the third Transforming Lives Makes Sense for Everyone film, a joint campaign between the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and United Nations Human Rights Office to showcase the employment legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The film can be viewed at https://youtu.be/pAMBxEdn2BY.

Although the London 2012 Paralympics contributed to shifts in attitudes and greater employment opportunities for people with disabilities, a gulf in the employment rates of those with and without impairments still exists. Latest statistics for Great Britain show that 51.3 percent of people with disabilities are employed, compared to 81.4 percent of the wider population.

“One in five of us are disabled,” said James Taylor, head of policy and campaigns for Scope, a leading British disability charity. “There is a huge amount of disabled people who are unemployed, who can work and want to work. That’s a huge untapped talent pool and resource that employers should be drawing on. Having more disabled people in your workforce at every level could really benefit the bottom line of a company and improve productivity as well.”

Creating Opportunities

After hanging up her swimming goggles, Beijing 2008 Paralympic swimming champion Liz Johnson co-founded The Ability People, a recruitment agency staffed entirely by people with impairments.

The organization is driven by the belief that a person’s achievement should only be determined by his or her ability. Johnson believes the Paralympics can act as a catalyst for positive change and that wider society must do more to drive inclusion.

“Since retiring, I’ve realized that actually there are a lot of limitations and barriers that are not placed on you by yourself but actually placed on you by society,” said Johnson, who was named on the prestigious BBC 100 Women list for 2018. “Persons with disabilities, they are some of the most resourceful, resilient, dedicated and motivated people on the planet. I think the Paralympics and the Paralympic Movement are the perfect vehicles to initiate and prompt change.”

In 2017, Scope launched “Work With Me,” a three-year campaign in partnership with Virgin Media to support one million people with a disability to get into and stay in work.

“It’s really about disability employment and to challenge employer attitudes,” said Taylor. “We have been going for the last 12 months. We’re also looking at how we can bring more employers on board with the campaign to support more disabled people into work.”

Ongoing Challenges

Despite a record high in the number of people with disabilities who are employed in Great Britain, a number of major challenges, including encouraging people with an impairment to look for jobs, still remain.

“As someone with disability, when you are employed people expect much more of you,” said Adil Ghani, a recruitment consultant at The Ability People.  “We are human beings, so we can all meet the same benchmarks, we just do it in different ways.

To view the first and second films, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtNNPwkoLtA
and www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRLl95x5Nas.

This article was adapted from information provided by the IPC.

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