Future Inns Plymouth and The Una Group were delighted to win a prestigious ‘Employer of the Year’ award at a local Disability Confident event last week at the National Marine Aquarium.
Hosted by local Social Enterprise, Pluss,Disability Confident is a national campaign, launched by David Cameron in London last year, which encourages employers to be positive about the skills that disabled people bring to business. Pluss is a national partner in the campaign and is working closely with the Minister for Disabled People to bring the campaign to local areas.
The winners were presented with their trophy and a bottle of champagne by Radio Plymouth and Plymouth City Council. They were selected from over 600 employers because of the pro-active way they have employed disabled people. The event was also supported by MP’s Oliver Colvile and Johnny Mercer.
Over 100 Plymouth businesses attended the event with Richard Stevens, Chair of Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce, as guest speaker. Other speakers included Wrigley, Devon and Cornwall Police, and Future Inn. The employers spoke about how employing a disabled person is one of the best decisions they have ever made; how it has helped transform their customer relations, their performance – and their bottom line!
On winning the ‘Employer of the Year’ award, Janice Carpenter, General Manager at Future Inns Plymouth, said “Future Inns are so pleased and proud to have been awarded Employer of the year – what an honour! This is a testament to my staff who have really taken Pluss customers to their heart. To see them grow from ‘rabbits in headlights’ to valued members of a working team is a joy to watch.”
David Young, Group Managing Director at The Una Group, said “We are delighted to have been given this award. We have excellent communication with Pluss and as a result we now have two employees that are hard working, who have really grown in confidence and that are highly valued members of the team.”
Also awarded with the Pluss ‘Achiever of the Year’ was Adam Bush, who is an Emergency Call Handler for Devon and Cornwall Police. Adam has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety. He has gone from being unable to attend job club or cope with other people in the room, to being a highly valued member of Devon and Cornwall Police.
Adam said “I was honoured to be nominated for this award, and to then actually win Achiever of the Year. It was nice to be recognised for the challenges I've overcome to get where I am today. Those who supported me at Pluss allowed me to see the positives I could take from my disability, and how I could use these within a role at Devon and Cornwall Police.”
Nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, yet there has historically been 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 Plymouth it is only 4.3%.
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 their customers are disabled people. A workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers it serves, and 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.