Options to Work From Home for Disabled People in UK

Options to Work From Home for Disabled People in UK

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Options to Work From Home for Disabled People in UK


The Need to Work from Home
Latest statistics for the number of people in the UK living with a disability put the figure in excess of 10 million. While 5 million of those were above the state pension age, 6.9% were between 18-60 years of age and were more than willing to work if they found the right opportunity. Unfortunately, the employment rate for the disabled stands at only 50% compared to 75% amongst the able bodied. Factor in the added challenges caused by lack of mobility, limitations due to on-going health problems and general prejudice by some sectors of society against anyone seen to be 'different', and it comes as no surprise that many disabled individuals fail to find employment within the UK workplace. Extra pressure was placed on those claiming the government's Disability Allowance when in February of 2011, Iain Duncan Smith announced the Welfare Reform Bill which was intended to reassess those claiming Incapacity and Disability Allowances and offering 'incentives to work'. New guidelines were introduced to help evaluate an individual's ability to work including; the ability to hold a pen and whether a person was able to bend their knees. Using such arbitrary factors to assess suitability to work has left many disabled claimants in fear of losing their benefits and forced them to re-evaluate their potential to earn an income by working from home.

Homeworking Opportunities
There are a number of UK based organisations that specialise in finding employment for the disabled working from home. 'Suitability' is an initiative devised by and run as a collaboration between Leonard Cheshire Disability, Jobsgopublic and the Employers Forum on Disability. They operate an online employment brokerage service who match the registered disabled with employers and mentors who are looking for staff. The organisation has an experienced team of advisors who assess the levels of skills and experience which the applicants have to offer and make a suitable match with an employer seeking those particular qualities. Applicants also have access to assistance with creating or updating their CV and can be introduced to others with similar challenges who share their aspirations and goals, providing a valuable support network. As many of the jobs offered are Internet based, such as programming, translating or simpler jobs as data entry or paid survey jobs, the Leonard Cheshire Disability's Workability Scheme will offer training in essential IT skills and provide individuals with a reconditioned computer, free of charge, to allow them to fulfill their potential to work successfully from home.

Offering the Ability to Make a Change
The 'Grass Roots' organisation specialise in evaluating the accessibility of services provided by many High Street businesses to those with a disability. They employ a team of disabled mystery shoppers who are asked to use specific websites to make online purchases, or make phone calls to a variety of service providers requesting information. They are then asked to evaluate the standard of the service they received, how the business responded to their enquiries and how they assessed the overall experience. Participating in this type of work offers the individual the opportunity to make a personal contribution to instigate change in the provision of service to the disabled, improving accessibility and raising awareness amongst the business community of the rights and needs of the disabled consumer.

Developing Existing Skills
Many disabled people have a wealth of artistic skills which they have developed and which can, with assistance, provide a satisfying outlet and an adequate income. The Guild of Disabled Homeworkers have retail outlets where people with disabilities can display and sell their work to the public. The guild make no commission on the sales and all proceeds go directly back to the artisan who has produced the item. This is an ideal opportunity for those with artistic capabilities to find a platform for their work and derive satisfaction from the knowledge that their skills have been valued and appreciated. Another great homeworking idea for people with good organisational and communication skills is to become a virtual PA. Many small companies lack the space and budget to employ full-time, on-site staff to do routine tasks such as answering the phone, dealing with general admin, placing orders and enforcing payment of invoices. These skills are greatly in demand and valued by many smaller employers and can offer the disabled individual a varied and interesting employment opportunity.





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