Sanef are Leeds Disability Confident Champion

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Photo of Disability ConfidentSanef Operations were delighted to win Pluss' Leeds ‘Employer of the Year’ award at our Disability Confident event held last Friday at the Queens Hotel in Leeds.

Disability Confident is a national campaign, launched by David Cameron 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. 

Sanef Operations were presented with their trophy and a bottle of champagne by Roger Marsh, Chief Executive of Leeds City Region LEP. They were selected from over 500 employers because of the pro-active way they have employed disabled people. The event was also supported by MP Stuart Andrew.

Over 40 Leeds businesses attended the event with Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council as guest speaker. Other speakers included Leeds Rhino’s player, Jamie Jones Buchanan and AIM Education.  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, Martin Dalton, Head of HR, Safety and Training at Sanef Operations, said "As a company we work to dignify all colleagues, including those with abilities we perhaps haven’t recognised. We seek to allow our disabled workers to demonstrate their talents and we find the right way to use them. A real win-win."

Roger Marsh, from Leeds City Region LEP added "I’m delighted to have presented this well-deserved award to Sanef.  Twelve months ago the LEPs International Team helped facilitate the companies move to the City. We’re delighted that since then, the company has grown with over 350 roles based in the Leeds City Region, in its first UK client service centre, which is responsible for the customer service operation for the Dartford Crossing in Kent. I look forward to continued work with the business to secure more jobs and growth in our region."

Photo of Achiever of YearAlso awarded with the Pluss ‘Achiever of the Year’ was Nicholas Garvey, who is a Drivers Mate for SLATE Charity Group.  Presented with his award by Stuart Andrew MP, Nicholas has learning difficulties and had been unemployed for many years. Pluss supported Nicholas to secure employment and his employer, Ann Wilson, from SLATE said "Nicholas has been an asset since his first day. He is like a ‘work seeking missile’ and he makes our feel-good store feel good!"

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 Leeds it is only 7.1%.

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 is good for business. On top of this, disabled people and their families spend £212 billion a year in the UK. 

Notes for editors

1. Photographs:

Photograph 1: (L-R) – Tom Riordan (Chief Executive, Leeds City Council), Nicholas Garvey (Achiever of the Year), Neil Conway (Chief Operating Officer, Sanef Operations), Nick Stillwell (Sanef Operations), Martin Dalton (Head of HR, Safety and Training, Sanef Operations), Stuart Andrew (MP for Pudsey, Horsforth & Aireborough ) and Roger Marsh (Chair of Leeds City Region LEP).

Photograph 2: (L-R) – Nicholas Garvey (Achiever of the Year) and Stuart Andrew MP.

2. Sanef employs 300 people at their Leeds operation to control the tolls of the Dartford tunnel, 365 days a year. They have made a commitment to offer 10% of their vacancies to disabled people at the site. Martin Dalton at Sanef has championed working with Pluss and as a result, they have employed 25 people with a range of health conditions and disabilities so far.