GM Talent Match brings together employers looking to support young people with disabilities

GM Talent Match delivering their most recent employer workshop

On 14th June, we co-hosted (with BITC) our latest Employer Workshop. 

Employers came together at Barclays offices in Manchester city centre, to discuss how best to support young people with disabilities (including those with learning disabilities) into employment.

The session formed part of BITC's Future Proof Campaign – a nationwide effort to help businesses create quality and accessible jobs for all young people.

The need for forward thinking dialogue around disability in the workplace is compelling: almost a fifth of the working age population have a disability (the GM Talent Match beneficiary demographic reflects this statistic), yet only 44.3 per cent of this group are economically inactive

The afternoon opened with presentations from United Response and Breakthrough UK, two organisations focused on helping people with disabilities move into work and gain independence. Both work with employers to provide practical information and advice on the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities.

Their key offers to employers in Greater Manchester include:

  • Providing advice on making reasonable adjustments to work and the workplace
  • Supporting employers and employees with Access to Work Claims
  • Awareness training to staff
  • In-work support for person as long as needed

Laura Stott, Senior Service Manager at United Response, said: “Reasonable adjustments to existing work practices are exactly that – reasonable. Employers have a business to run and our suggestions do not obstruct or impede. From experience we know that alterations like job carving and new communication strategies can benefit all employees.”

All of the event speakers focused in part on societal attitudes and the prevailing cultural bias preventing people with disabilities maximising their potential.

Delegates then heard a case study involving Manchester City Council and GM Talent Match beneficiaries. The Council have moved to improve the accessibility of their apprenticeship vacancies to people with disabilities and remove recruitment barriers.

To best direct this cultural shift, the council worked with Nicola and Sara from the GM Talent Match Youth Panel, who both have disabilities. Hearing Nicola and Sara talk about how their recommendations are now being implemented by the council and incorporated into the Manchester Disability Plan, was an undoubted highlight of the event.

Before a final activity reflecting on barriers and solutions, Jonathan Richardson from the National Grid spoke to delegates about the importance of co-designing and embedding employment pathways with Special Educational Needs schools.

To find out more about United Response’s available support for employers please contact: Laura Stott – Senior Service Manager, Greater Manchester Supported Employment, 0161 873 7479/07789 278135,

For Breakthrough UK, contact: 0161 234 3950 / 07938 970 674,

The full presentation from the workshop can be downloaded by following this link with a PDF version too.