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DR UK reviews the Opportunity for All essay collection

12 September 2017

Opportunity for All: Essays on transforming employment for disabled people and those with health conditions

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Read Evan Odell's review of the essay collection

Neil Coyle MP at Opportunity for All Launch @LearnWorkUK

Yesterday Evan Odell, DRILL Programme Officer and Kate Pieroudis Get Out Get Active Peer Support Lead attended the launch of a collection of essays published by the Learning and Work Institute (LWI) and the Shaw Trust.

The collection, Opportunity for All, provides perspectives from eleven leading thinkers in disability, health and employment.

The event was attended by 20-30 people, and featured Stephen Evans from the LWI, Neil Coyle MP secretary for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Disability and Paulette Cohen the directory of diversity and inclusion at Barclays.

Some of the interesting points that came up in the discussion included:

  • issues with Jobcentre Plus acting less as an employment support service and more as a benefits and sanctions service

  • opposition from mid-tier staff to initiatives to increase the number disabled employees
  • disabled peoples’ fear of disability benefits reform in the current climate

  • the work that Barclays has done to become a ‘leader’ in the field of Equality and Diversity

  • that 80% of people who are not in work have some kind of disability and that current interventions, such as those by Job Centre Plus are not working

During the discussion, Kate Pieroudis talked about the importance of peer support in employment and how the government scheme Access to Work can provide a lifeline of resources to disabled people wanting to get into and stay in work.

The UK falls well short of many other countries in its record on disability employment. In these essays, the Shaw Trust and the Learning and Work Institute have brought together the latest thinking from leading experts on one of the biggest challenges of our time.

Opportunity for All authors include:

  • Liz Sayce – former Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK

  • Dame Carol Black – Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, and independent adviser to the government on work and health

  • Ben Baumberg Geiger – Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, University of Kent

  • Kirsty McHugh – Chief Executive, Employment Related Services Association

  • Gemma Nicola Jamieson – Digital Marketing and Content Officer, Shaw Trust

  • Paulette Cohen – Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Barclays

  • Christian Van Stolk and Joanna Hofman – Vice President & Research Leader, RAND Europe

  • Andrew Parkins – PublicCo

  • Dave Simmonds OBE – Senior Emeritus Research Fellow, Learning and Work Institute

  • Rt Hon Frank Field MP – Chair-elect, House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee

  • Gemma Hope – Head of Policy, Research and Communication, Shaw Trust

Opportunity for All