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Disabled Graduates Facing Uphill Struggle For Work, Say Young Campaigners

November 9, 2011

I have just received the press release below from the Trailblazers.

Campaigners are today calling on Ministers to do more to help young disabled graduates to find and keep work, as they tell of how inaccessible premises, poor awareness of employer support schemes and lack of access to public transport are leaving them at a severe disadvantage in the shrinking job market.


At a meeting at Westminster led by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers, a group of 370 disabled campaigners aged 16-30 who tackle social injustices faced by young disabled people, graduates, professionals, charity leaders and MPs including Disability Minister Maria Miller, will discuss tackling the employment crisis. A study last year found that three quarters of the Trailblazers group had struggled to find accessible work places and a similar number believe job applications have been rejected due to perceptions of their disability. One in three had never heard of the Access to Work scheme, which was set up in 1994 to help disabled professionals through practical advice and grants.

While university graduates face an increasing struggle to secure entry-level positions, young disabled professionals are facing further obstacles, including finding themselves unable to relocate due to a lack of accessible rental accommodation and difficulties commuting on public transport. The Trailblazers also say that employers’ worries over health and safety and unwillingness to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled staff are further hampering efforts to break into the job market.

The group will call on Ministers to examine ways to give a boost to young disabled people seeking work, including increasing the potential for freelance work by adapting benefits, promoting the Access to Work scheme and extending it to cover internships and voluntary placements.

Bobby Ancil, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers Project Manager said:

“We have heard a lot recently in the press about the cost of disability benefits, yet many young skilled disabled people who want to work and want to establish a career, are finding themselves facing an increasingly uphill struggle. All young people trying to make their way through higher education or break into the job market are having a tough time in this financial climate. However, on top of these challenges, young disabled graduates are also facing further obstacles at every stage of the job application process. We need to see much more being doing to support them.”

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