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Disabled jobseekers gain interview experience

Thursday 5th December 2019 12:00

People sitting around a table at the event

Thames Water hosted a major event for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions to help them brush up on essential skills needed for the workplace.

Mock job interviews were held by Thames Water and other employers at the water company’s HQ in Reading with the some candidates being put forward for vacant roles.

The event was held to coincide with International Day of People with Disabilities - a UN-sanctioned day celebrated around the world each year.

Thames Water is a Disability Confident Leader – the Government’s top award for a company’s commitment to employing, supporting and retaining people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. It means the business is one of the country’s leading workplaces for people with both visible and non-visible disabilities.

Karl Simons said, “It is not the disability that prevents a person thriving at work, it is the environment in which they are placed. We’ve all got great stories to tell about our life and upbringing and the challenges we have faced.

“The things we have overcome in our lives make us even stronger. We welcomed over 40 candidates to hone their interview skills and show them that companies like us commit to making reasonable adjustments to make sure everyone can thrive at work.”

A second linked event was staged in Solihull by Energy & Utility Skills, which helps employers in the energy and utilities sector attract, develop and maintain a sustainable and skilled workforce.

More than 40 candidates attended the two events thanks to Blind in Business, a charity that helps blind and partially-sighted people into work, and Kennedy Scott, a national provider of employment services for jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities.

Other businesses holding interviews included Accenture, the NHS, Vodafone and Welsh Water.

One candidate, an economics graduate who is legally blind, said: “I’ve had lots of interviews where I can tell that the interviewer feels that hiring me is too much hassle. It’s great to see that industry leaders like Thames enables people with disabilities to thrive.”

Another candidate, who was a chef in the territorial army, said “I’m 54, and due to my degenerative disease that affects my balance and muscles, I can’t work in kitchens or warehouses anymore.

“It’s nice to know that companies like Thames will make adjustments to help people like me back into work.”

James McCarthy, from Blind in Business, said: “It's a fantastic event as it proves to blind and visually impaired talent that businesses really do value the skills they bring.”