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Supported workplaces tackle disability employment gap

22nd October 2019

“We see the ability in people rather than the disability…”

Community took the opportunity to take a closer look at how supported workplaces can use training, education and union learning to tackle poverty.

Challenge Poverty Week took place earlier this month in Scotland. The week is organised by the Poverty Alliance – a coalition of campaigning organisations, charities and trade unions across Scotland.

Supported workplaces provide employment for disabled workers and RSBi Glasgow is the largest supported workplace in Europe. There are currently over 200 Community members working in RSBi, most of whom are disabled.

Community Union Learning Rep – Audrey McJimpsey said:

“At RSBI we provide a wide range of onsite learning and everyday skills to our members including literacy, numeracy, IT and sign language to increase communication within our staff. I believe that providing this training to our members encourages them to be the best that they can be of themselves.”

Image of union learning rep Audrey McJimpsey at RSBI supported workplace

Community union learning rep – Audrey McJimpsey being interviewed for Challenge Poverty Week

People with a disability are much more likely to be living in poverty. Nearly half of the people in poverty in the UK are disabled or live in a household with a disabled person.

One of the main drivers behind these figures is the disability employment gap, which is the gap in percentage terms between the employment rates of disabled people and non-disabled people. The employment rate of disabled people in Scotland is 45.4%, compared to 81.2% for non-disabled people, a gap of 35.8 percentage points.

Community Branch Secretary – Steven McGurk said:

“If more employers were open minded about employing disabled people we could begin to change those statistics. At RSBI we have an ethos that everyone has the right to equal opportunity. We see the ability in people rather than the disability.”

Image of union rep Steven McGurk at RSBI supported workplace

RSBI Community union branch secretary – Steven McGurk being interviewed for Challenge Poverty Week

Through its parent company Glasgow City Building, RSBi provides sustainable employment to disabled workers – they produce quality products in a challenging manufacturing industry.

Community, through its National League of the Blind and Disabled section, has been organising and representing disabled workers for generations. This year Community is marking the 120th anniversary of the founding of the NLBD as one of the world’s oldest organisations of and for disabled people.

Community is proud of its sectoral diversity, regardless of whether you’re a steelworker, prison officer, office worker or care worker, you’ll always find support from us.

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Community members finding themselves experiencing financial hardship can seek assistance through our bereavement fund. If you are a Community member and could use a hand we’re here. Click here to learn more.