National Grid has underlined its promise to go the extra mile to provide employment for people with disabilities.
“We know first-hand the difference these schemes can make to individuals and teams."
Steve Holliday, Chief Executive, National Grid.
The company is already leading the way in the creation of an inclusive and diverse workforce, and now Chief Executive Steve Holliday has reinforced this commitment by signing the Government’s Disability Confident Pledge.
Steve met Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People, and vowed to ‘shatter stereotypes and help young people with learning disabilities achieve paid employment’.
Steve said: “We are delighted to sign this pledge and show our commitment to providing opportunities for those who often have a challenge starting their careers.
“We are all different. It is important that we are able to celebrate those differences and create opportunities for individuals and teams to work together.”
As part of its drive, National Grid recently expanded its EmployAbility – Let’s Work Together programme and now has four schemes operating across the UK providing opportunities for many students.
The project, which launched in 2013, sees the company working with special schools and colleges to provide internships to those with additional learning needs as well as encouraging other businesses to do the same.
Already 70 per cent of interns have gone on to secure paid employment compared with a national average of seven per cent.
Steve commented: “Our EmployAbility scheme is already changing lives. This year we have expanded this programme again and provide opportunities for 24 interns a year.
“We know first-hand the difference these schemes can make to individuals and teams. We are hoping that other businesses will recognise the benefits to them and their employees and offer opportunities within their companies.”
EmployAbility intern George Barnes was at the pledge signing with five fellow students.
George, who recently graduated from the programme in Warwick, said: “The EmployAbility programme has helped me realise my ambition of getting paid employment. My worries about getting a job have been put to rest and the future looks brighter thanks to this programme.”
The Disability Confident campaign was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in July 2013 to challenge perceptions, engage employers and promote good practice. Since then the number of disabled people in work has increased by 350,000 to 3.2 million according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Justin Tomlinson, who is MP for Swindon, said: “National Grid has recognised the wealth of talent among disabled people and is reaping the rewards. Its EmployAbility programme is helping them to employ highly skilled people with a range of backgrounds and experiences, benefiting National Grid.”