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Celebrating Diversity in the Manchester Workplace

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On Friday 13th September, learning provider, Seetec Pluss, invited Manchester businesses to support and inspire one another in workplace diversity.

Bringing together employers in Manchester, the event was attended by over 130 individuals and held at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness and support individuals from all walks of life to enter and progress in the world of work, particularly those with disabilities who may have previously struggled to find employment.

Research has revealed that in the UK, 51.7% of people with disabilities are in employment*. Drilled down, the results showed that 15% of people on the autistic spectrum are currently working, and only 6% of people with a learning disability have jobs.

Registered Disability Confident leader, Seetec Pluss facilitated the event to help support employers who are looking to know more about how to recruit a more diverse workforce. The event created the opportunity for Manchester businesses to meet employers who are already disability confident, including McDonalds and United Utilities, and can share knowledge on how better to expand their horizons when it comes to recruiting people with disabilities.

Opening the event at 8am was the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Abid Latif Chohan, followed by a talk from former Shadow Minister for Disabled People Kate Green MP, who spoke to employers and took pledges from those inspired by the event and keen to make a difference in the workplace.

At the event, Kate Green, current Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, presented the awards as voted for by staff and partners of Seetec Pluss. Nominations were cast to find out who voters believed to have gone the extra mile when it came to workplace inclusivity. Judging both organisation and individual members of staff based in Manchester, awards were given as a result of those who inspired others, remained extremely supportive in the workplace and was an all-round inclusivity ambassador.

Achiever of the Year Awards went to Daniel Robinson, a single dad who showed sheer determination when it comes to finding work. As a fully qualified painter and decorator as well as a machinist, Daniel hasn’t let his disability hold him back.

Daniel said “Winning means a lot to me – it shows that I’ve tried hard all year round and that I’ve done my very best to get back into work. Events like this helps people like me who have disabilities get recognised for everyday tasks that we might find more difficult than an average person. Being able to use these services to find amazing mentors that help me get everything I need to get back into work.”

As a previous Director of the National Council for One Parent Families, Kate Green MP was delighted to present the award. She said “I’m an employer – I’ve been to Disability Confident events in the past and it’s now made me confident enough to employ disabled people in my work place and I can safely say it’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done. It’s brought us new skills, new ways at looking at how we work and I would urge every employer to think about how they can make room for a disabled member of staff.”

Kate also cited some of the less obvious benefits to hiring someone with disabilities, including lower levels of annual sick leave and a higher level of commitment and enthusiasm as opposed to a non-disabled employee.

Winning the Employer of the Year Award was Single Resource, who deliver recruitment services to JD Sports. They were awarded the title as a result of their dedication and effort into employing people with physical and mental health needs and have in the last month alone hired 25 Seetec Pluss participants They’ve remained flexible in their recruitment practices, choosing to focus on a person’s individual skills and tailoring their jobs to the talent of each individual and as a result, have changed countless lives. Other finalists included Marks and Spencers, Arcus and B&M.

The Seetec Group is made up of a number of training and education providers, one arm of the business being Seetec Pluss, who work with people of all abilities to train them to find opportunities to make the most of their career.

Greg Bate, Senior Operational Partnership Manager at Seetec Pluss commented “With unemployment at its lowest since the 1970’s, businesses are struggling to get the right people to fill their vacancies. By working with Seetec Pluss, they can tap into a wealth of skills, talent and enthusiasm. We work with hundreds of people who have often been overlooked in the past – this is often due to inflexible recruitment procedures, lack of confidence or society’s preconceived ideas – yet the participants we work with have the skills and passion to do the job if only they’re only given the opportunity to shine! The event has been a great success in allowing disability confident businesses connect with those less experienced, so they can inspire and support one another to become diverse workplace leaders.”

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