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EqualEdge Guest Blog: Supporting d/Deaf and Disabled People in the Workplace: How EqualEdge Makes a Difference with Workplace Support Workers

  • Published: Thursday, July 4, 2024

The following blog was written by EqualEdge, to introduce you to what they can do to support people across Greater Manchester:

In the pursuit of a truly inclusive workforce, ensuring reasonable access to meaningful employment for d/Deaf and disabled people is paramount. Unfortunately, many d/Deaf and disabled people face significant challenges in finding and retaining employment. Recognising this gap, EqualEdge is dedicated to bridging this divide and supporting d/Deaf and disabled people to thrive in the workplace through Workplace Support Workers (WSWs). We support any d/Deaf and disabled person who is employed, self-employed, has an apprenticeship, a work trial or work experience, an internship, a work placement or needs adjustments at job interviews.

All of this is done through our easy-to-navigate online matching system, where d/Deaf and Disabled people can register and be matched with people who want to work as Workplace Support Workers. You can of course email us or give us a call. EqualEdge then deals with the recruitment process, HR, Insurance and Pay, taking the hassle away from the d/Deaf and Disabled person.


EqualEdge: A Means for Change

EqualEdge is not just an agency; it's a movement driven by the belief that d/Deaf and disabled people deserve every opportunity to pursue their professional aspirations. As the Social Enterprise of Breakthrough UK, a d/Deaf and disabled people’s organisation led by d/Deaf and disabled people, EqualEdge is rooted in lived experiences and a deep understanding of the barriers faced by disabled people in the workforce.

We offer training to d/Deaf and disabled people about being a good manager of their Workplace Support Worker, the Workplace Support Worker on what it means to be a good Workplace Support worker and offer employers training sessions on the Social Model of Disability and other specific in-depth training on disabilities such as ADHD.


Our Mission: Bridging the Gap

At EqualEdge, we see a world where d/Deaf and disabled people are not only included in the workforce but also flourish in inclusive environments where they can reach their full potential. Our mission is clear: to provide tailored Workplace Support Workers services that support d/Deaf and disabled people, foster inclusivity, and pave the way for professional success.

d/Deaf and disabled people can also become Workplace Support Workers, providing them with meaningful paid employment and an opportunity to support other d/Deaf and disabled people.


Partnering for Impact

We take pride in our partnership with Breakthrough UK, a disabled people's organisation that shares our values and commitment to supporting d/Deaf and disabled people. What sets EqualEdge apart is our dedication to making a tangible difference – a percentage of our profits support Breakthrough UK's vital advocacy work, amplifying the voices of d/Deaf and disabled people and promoting inclusivity across all facets of life.


Comprehensive Support for Every Journey

At EqualEdge, we understand that no two journeys are alike. That's why we offer more than just practical assistance; we provide holistic support encompassing well-being and social advocacy. Our team of skilled and qualified workplace support workers works closely with d/Deaf and disabled people, ensuring they have the support they need to excel in their roles and feel valued in the workplace.


Supporting Professional Growth

Our commitment to supporting d/Deaf and disabled people extends beyond day-to-day support. Through our services, d/Deaf and disabled people gain access to opportunities for skill development, career advancement, and personal growth. By breaking down barriers and providing tailored support, we unlock possibilities that lead to fulfilling and successful careers.


Understanding the Current Scope and Challenges

According to recent statistics, around 19% of working-age adults in the UK are d/Deaf and disabled, and the employment rate for d/Deaf and disabled people is significantly lower than that of non-disabled people. Moreover, d/Deaf people face unique barriers, with many reporting challenges in communication and accessibility within the workplace.

One of the significant challenges d/Deaf and disabled people face is finding roles that allow them to reach their full potential. Studies indicate that many d/Deaf and disabled people feel underemployed or overqualified for their current positions due to a lack of inclusive workplace practices. Additionally, a significant percentage of d/Deaf and disabled people report difficulties in securing employment, with accessibility and bias being major barriers.


How Businesses Can Support and Adapt

Businesses can play a crucial role in creating inclusive workplaces by implementing several strategies:

  1. Accessibility: Ensure the workplace is physically accessible and provide necessary assistive technologies.
  2. Training: Educate staff on disability awareness and inclusivity.
  3. Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible working hours and remote work options.
  4. Inclusive Recruitment Practices: Adapt recruitment processes to be inclusive, such as providing sign language interpreters during interviews.
  5. Support Networks: Establish support networks and employee resource groups for d/Deaf and disabled employees.
  6. Using services such as EqualEdge to help d/Deaf and disabled people apply for the Access to Work grant.


Examples of Impactful Businesses

Several businesses have worked with EqualEdge to successfully integrate inclusive practices:

  • University of Manchester: Through Workplace Support Workers and training initiatives, the University of Manchester has fostered an inclusive environment that supports d/Deaf and disabled employees. This initiative has led to higher job satisfaction and retention rates among d/Deaf and disabled staff, demonstrating the positive impact of tailored workplace support.
  • Manchester City Council: By utilising Workplace Support Workers and providing comprehensive training on d/Deaf and disability awareness, Manchester City Council has created a more accessible and supportive workplace. The council's efforts have improved workplace morale and productivity, highlighting the benefits of inclusive practices.
  • Manchester Airport Group: We will soon be conducting training sessions for staff on disability awareness and inclusive practices, which will help Manchester Airport Group significantly enhance the support for d/Deaf and disabled employees and customers. This initiative will help foster a more inclusive environment, improve staff understanding, and enhance customer experience.

These organisations have reported increased innovation, improved employee morale, and a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture because of their initiatives.


Join the Movement for Inclusion

By choosing EqualEdge, you're not just investing in d/Deaf and disabled people's professional growth – you're contributing to a larger movement for positive change. Together, we can create a more inclusive workforce where every person, regardless of ability, can thrive.

EqualEdge is more than just an agency – it's a catalyst for change, a champion for inclusion, and a supportive partner. With our unwavering commitment to supporting d/Deaf and disabled people in the workplace, we're paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Join us in making a difference today.

You can visit the EqualEdge webpage today to learn more by clicking here.

For more information around Disability Support available in Greater Manchester, click here.