Research Theme: Participating in the economy

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There are different ways that people might participate in the economy. There are lots of activities and roles related to this. Unfortunately there can also be lots of barriers that get in disabled people’s way.

 

For disabled people to participate equally in economic activities they need access to the right education and training for the current and future job market, to career opportunities, and opportunities for self-employment and to set up new businesses. Disabled people need employers who recognise what they can do and that they can have just the experience and qualities that employers are looking for. There can be different, but equally good ways of doing a job.

 

As consumers, they need to be able to get into shops and be treated appropriately as customers and access to on-line shopping. They should have choice about the goods and services they need to achieve independent living.

 

When we held the roadshows, disabled people identified some particular issues that they felt were important when it came to participating in the economy. It is important to find new solutions to these issues:

 

a) The employment gap: Disabled people of working age are less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people of working age. There can be big differences in the employment rates of different groups of disabled people too. What can be done to address this? How can work places and ways of working be made inclusive? What might help make that happen?

b) The skills gap: Some disabled people have had a good education and have lots of skills. But overall disabled people of working age are likely to have fewer qualifications and skills than non-disabled people of working age. What can be done to address this? How can places where people learn (schools, colleges, etc) be made more inclusive? What might help make that happen?

c) Self-employment: Some disabled people want to set up their own businesses or be self-employed. What support or policies will enable them to do this?

d) Having a career: If they have a job, disabled people of working age are more likely than non-disabled people of working age to be in low paid work. What can be done to enable them to get promoted and meet their full potential? How can they be supported to develop their careers?

e) Having enough money: Disabled people are more likely than non-disabled people to be poor. This is because they have extra costs and are less likely to have a job. What can be done to increase disabled people’s incomes? What can be done to reduce their extra costs?

f) Choice and power as a consumer: Disabled people must have choice and control over the goods and services they need if they are to have independent living. More generally, they should have the same choice and power as non-disabled consumers over what they buy. They may be able to come together to exercise consumer power to drive down costs. What can be done to make these things happen?