Evenbreak’s founder, Jane Hatton, was recently interviewed by GDH Consulting. Here is an extract from that interview:
Can you tell us the story behind Evenbreak?
I founded Evenbreak in 2011 as a solution to a number of barriers to employment for disabled people.
In the U.K., disabled people have twice the rate of unemployment as non-disabled people. As a diversity consultant I had encountered various reactions from employers on this issue, from complete resistance to employing disabled people to a desire to employ them but not knowing how to go about it. As an employer I had employed a range of staff including disabled people, so had experienced the business benefits of doing so. Talking to disabled people, there was a wariness to apply for jobs, having been rejected so often at the point they first mentioned their impairment. And, as a disabled person myself, I knew the importance of working – not just for income, but also to have a purpose, a feeling of contributing something of value, and increasing dignity and independence.
Evenbreak addresses many of these issues. As a specialist job board it enables inclusive employers to specifically target disabled candidates with their vacancies, meaning they will attract more disabled candidates than through their usual recruitment channels. It enables disabled candidates to have the confidence to apply for jobs to an employer who has chosen to target them. We also offer online support to candidates in terms of how to sell themselves to employers, and to employers in helping them to become more inclusive and accessible.
Why was it important to you to create a specialist job board for disabled people?
Fairness has been important to me since I was a child, campaigning against children with free school meals having to stand in a separate queue from those of us who didn’t. My early career was spent in social work, with children and young people in residential care – a very marginalised group in society.
Following a period of training social workers I became an independent management consultant specializing in diversity (or “equal opportunities” as we called it then). My main interest at the time was race discrimination – this was around the time of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. I then became involved in wider issues of diversity, including gender, sexual orientation, age and disability, particularly in the area of employment.
Having spent many years promoting to employers the benefits of employing, amongst others, disabled people, a somewhat ironic twist of fate meant that I joined the 83 percent of disabled people who acquire a disability in adulthood.
I developed a degenerative spinal disorder requiring a number of spinal surgeries, leaving me in constant chronic pain, and specifically limiting my ability to sit.
This rather abruptly made disability much more personal, and I decided that rather than just training employers I wanted to contribute something tangible towards improving accessibility and inclusion for disabled people in the workplace.
I run Evenbreak lying flat with a laptop suspended above me. As Evenbreak grew I needed to employ people, and took the decision to only employ disabled people. Evenbreak strives to be a “role model” employer – we are a social enterprise (all surplus income going back into the business), a social business (only employing disabled people) and a Living Wage employer (all staff are paid at or above the living wage).
The rest of the interview can be seen here
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