Throughout my school years the recurring message I received from teachers was your disability means you ‘can’t do things because of it.’ Now I’m older I realised that I have unique skills because of them. I would like us all to re-imagine our workforce which maximises every ones skills, and instead of looking the gaps due to the disabilities through the process of ‘reasonable adjustments’ we should plan to see how we can maximise these gifts.
I like to imagine what the NHS could look like if it actively recruited people with disabilities and led the way in demonstrating the true benefits of a diverse workforce. As health and care leaders we all have a responsibilities to not only support staff but to look beyond disabilities to see the real talents that people can bring to the work place and to use them.
I now realise that as a person with a disability I also have a role to start talking about this and to spread the word and telling others what gifts I have thanks to it. I am dyslexic which means I have amazing gifts for problem solving as I have the ability to see the world through different lenses. Tomorrow as you head into work look for the talents in all your staff and help them to grow.
Work is a valuable part of life. It’s what gets us up every morning, gives us daily structure and a sense of purpose. To deny someone the opportunity to work is to deny their independence. Disabled people, are routinely denied this opportunity. This is not new; these barriers seem to be anchored into our societies foundations. The Conservative Government recognise this and have routinely made manifesto commitments to tackle the disability employment deficit.