Knutsford business boost disability employment | Knutsford Times

Knutsford business boost disability employment

By on February 3, 2015
L to R - Laura Collins, Kristina Boyle, Sarah Sanders and Janice Henson from de Poel Community stand with Lisa Smart, prospective MP for Hazel Grove and Rt Hon Sir Andrew Stunell MP

L to R – Laura Collins, Kristina Boyle, Sarah Sanders and Janice Henson from de Poel Community stand with Lisa Smart, prospective MP for Hazel Grove and Rt Hon Sir Andrew Stunell MP

An event that took place yesterday in Stockport has marked a turning point, as Stockport, Cheshire and Greater Manchester employers joined forces to discuss employment and celebrate inclusive and diverse workforces.

Hosted at Bredbury Hall by Knutsford based recruitment specialist de Poel Community, Rt Hon Sir Andrew Stunell MP, Lisa Smart, prospective MP for Hazel Grove and, the event is part of a nationwide campaign to encourage MPs and employers to realise the multiple business benefits of an inclusive workforce.

Entitled ‘Disability Confident’, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) campaign was originally launched in London in July 2013 by Prime Minister David Cameron, and has since been continuing on its journey, with MP-led constituency based events taking place across the country.

The Disability Confident campaign aims to improve the employment opportunities for disabled people, whilst removing the barriers preventing them from gaining sustainable employment.

Mark Harper, Minister for Disabled People, has pledged his support and continues to drive the campaign forward: “More and more companies across the country are waking up to the considerable talents of disabled people in the workplace.

He continues, “Evidence shows that disabled people tend to stay in a job for longer, have a strong commitment to their employer and experience lower rates of absenteeism”.

de Poel Community, formerly placeability, has supported the campaign from the beginning, partnering on the launch event in London and the regional event in Manchester in March 2014, in addition to today’s conference.

Janice Henson, Managing Director of de Poel Community, presented at the event alongside a number of key speakers. Janice comments: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Rt Hon Sir Andrew Stunell MP and prospective MP Lisa Smart, to encourage local employers to make their businesses ‘Disability Confident’. By creating employment opportunities, we believe that this is key to unlocking potential and supporting people with disabilities who want to work. We are honoured to be able to draw on our unique position within, and knowledge of, the labour market to further promote the contribution that people with disabilities can bring to the economy as a whole”.

Lisa Smart, prospective MP for Hazel Grove, echoes: “Having worked in business for ten years, I know that there are myths in the workplace about employing disabled people. Disability Confident events like ours aim to smash these myths and give employers and disabled job seekers the opportunity to get to know each other in a no pressure environment. We were lucky to have some brilliant employers and such extremely talented future employees with us last Monday.”

The event showcased employer and disabled employees’ experiences and barriers they have faced, and the action employers have taken to remove these barriers. Fujitsu, ITV, Tameside Council, Stockport College, Symphony Housing Group and Stockport Mind were amongst the 90 attendees, holding discussions with job seekers about possible work opportunities.

Adrian Bleasdale, Special Projects Director from ITV comments: “It was an incredibly useful and informative event. It was particularly great to hear from some of the people who have really benefited; they brought the event to life. Really well organised too”.

To find out more about the Disability Confident campaign and de Poel Community, please visit and

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