Sainsbury’s in Pinhoe were delighted to win a prestigious ‘Employer of the Year’ award at a Disability Confident event held last week at Haven Banks Outdoor Centre in Exeter.
Hosted by Pluss,Disability Confident is a national campaign launched by David Cameron that encourages employers to be positive about the skills that disabled people bring to business.
The event was opened by Derek Phillips, Vice President of Exeter Chamber, who presented Sainsbury’s with their trophy and a bottle of champagne.
Over 50 Exeter and East Devon businesses also attended the event with speakers including Londis and Blue Chip Holidays.
The employers spoke about how employing a disabled person is one of the best decisions they have ever made; how it has transformed their culture, their customer relations, their performance – and their bottom line!
On winning the ‘Employer of the Year’ award, Christophe Hibbit, Assistant Manager at Sainsbury’s, said "We were thrilled to win the award, We thoroughly believe it takes a wide range of personalities and abilities to deliver a great place to shop for ours customers and a great place to work for our colleagues. We have gained two great colleagues from this campaign and look forward to maintaining this as diversity and inclusion are an important part of Sainsbury’s values."
Derek Phillps added "I was delighted to attend today’s Disability Confident event. It’s fantastic to see so many local businesses on board and hear how employing a disabled person has benefited their business."
Nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, yet there is a large gap between the numbers of disabled people employed compared with non disabled people. Over 72% of the working age population are currently in work yet for someone with a learning disability living in Devon it is only 8.6%.
Many employers find that by encouraging applications from disabled people they are able to extend the pool of high quality applicants available to them. For an average business, 20% of customers are disabled and a workforce that reflects the community in which it is based is good for business. On top of this, disabled people and their families spend £212 billion a year in the UK (£20 billion here in the South West).