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RIDI 2018: What's next?

5th Jun 2018
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As many of our readers and followers will know, the RIDI Awards are the pinnacle of a year-long campaign which celebrates disability confident recruiters and employers. This year has seen the broadest spread of entries and after months of receiving applications and challenging deliberation, the spectacular awards evening was hosted in London at XL Catlin. Here we had the chance to gather and truly celebrate the success of all the companies that entered the awards who, might I add, are all winners.

RIDI Awards 2018

Reflected in everything we do, our real purpose is to break down the barriers facing disabled people in the workplace. Hosting the awards each year is a way to encourage strategic partnerships with recruiters and employers across the board who can motivate each other to continue the journey to becoming disability confident.

Judges on the panel this year were tasked with deliberating over the high calibre of entries and each of our awards recognises that it is often the little things that make the biggest difference when it comes to recruiting disabled talent. While previous years’ entries demonstrated great awareness of the barriers facing disabled jobseekers, amongst the winners of 2018, a prevailing theme was the year of the candidate. Feedback from our judges highlighted how organisations such as Amey, Lloyd’s, Manpower and Carmichael UK are focusing on building long lasting-relationships to help candidates into employment. With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy last year, this offers employers an opportunity to improve disabled talent pipelines and Amey is concentrated on educating candidates through internships and apprenticeships. Lloyd’s and Manpower are also great examples of companies which have demonstrated their willingness to go the extra mile in their strategies through increasing the requests and implementation of reasonable adjustments. Although sometimes overlooked, candidate feedback has shown there is still reluctance for individuals to voice their needs and organisations such as these are striving to stop this, with many employees still reporting they are worried to ask for adaptions or flexible hours to help them work productively.  

Another theme this year was the increase in ‘top down’ approaches to inclusion. It’s inspirational to see businesses getting the buy in from senior leadership teams and disability strategies being supported and embraced throughout the company. Brilliant examples from this year’s winners were the Civil Service, Guidant Group and John Lewis. John Lewis in particular took small but significant steps to make its recruitment process more accessible for disabled candidates, and we were all impressed with how the organisation brought the case to the board and gained backing for the budget and sponsorship for the work.

The key aspect for each of these programmes and initiatives is sustainability and this was a clear aim for all the winners. Throughout each category, organisations showed their drive to maintain continued success, working proactively to lead and influence other businesses on disability confidence and make a real difference for the future. Since 2013 the number of disabled people in work in the UK has increased by over half a million but we still have more to do.

Paralympian, Sophia Warner who spoke at the event summed up her thoughts on the night:  “On a personal level, when I heard about the RIDI Awards and all the wonderful steps that the organisations involved are making towards creating fair and equal opportunities for people like me, I jumped at the chance to be involved.”

So what is the next step for RIDI? We will continue sharing our vision for a society where those with disabilities and health conditions can work and achieve their full potential. Plans for 2018 also include a series of thought leadership round-tables and events which will showcase best-practice in disabled recruitment and of course we are planning ahead for 2019 RIDI Awards!

Again, I want to congratulate all the winners and applicants for their continuous efforts towards a diverse and inclusive workforce. Together we can make a difference.

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