Evenbreak recently held our first conference. Called “Employing Disabled People – the Bottom Line”, it was aimed at helping employers understand the real business benefits of employing disabled people, with lots of ideas about how to gain those benefits. The aims of the conference were two-fold – firstly to help employers become more accessible and inclusive in order to attract and retain talented disabled people, and also to raise awareness of Evenbreak as a vehicle to help them achieve that.
The conference itself had to be inclusive and accessible to showcase good practice, and so we chose 15 Hatfields, London, which is a very accessible venue – light airy rooms, wide doorways, a hearing loop and very flexible when catering for different dietary requirements. A social enterprise themselves, nothing was too much trouble for them. The stage for the speakers was also wheelchair accessible (you would be amazed how difficult it is to find a venue in London offering that facility!). We provided two BSL signers who interpreted all of the speakers, and written information was provided in a number of formats
We were delighted to welcome delegates from organisations such as BBC, National Grid, GlaxoSmithKline, Wellcome Trust, Nuffield Health, Environment Agency, National Trust and many others.
Speakers included Kate Headley from the Clear Company, talking about ensuring the recruitment process is an inclusive experience for candidates, and Mary Dunleavy from Access to Work, explaining what support is available to employers and disabled employees.
A particular favourite with delegates was a talk by Phil Friend, Chair of Disability Rights UK, who spoke powerfully and humorously about disabled employees as assets rather than problems. Kate Nash of Kate Nash Associates then explored how Disabled Employee Networks could benefit employers and employees alike, and was joined by Paul Scantlebury and John Levell from EY who talked about how it worked in practice for them.
- Phil Friend
The conference ended on a thought-provoking and high note with a lively session from the actor, author, activist and self-described “wobbly” comedian, Francesca Martinez. She talked about disability, and society’s response to disability, in a very forthright way, leaving the audience laughing, but also challenging their own perceptions.
The team at Evenbreak pulled together and worked hard to make the conference the success it was, and have taken away learning points to make sure that the next conference is even better.
Tirath Cane (Evenbreak), Jane Hatton (Evenbreak), Francesca Martinez, Jane Hurst (Evenbreak)
To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/
To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/
To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak