A north Wales based business leader is supporting a Welsh Government campaign aimed at raising awareness of the support available to help businesses attract, recruit, and retain disabled people.
Davina Carey-Evans runs Anglesey-based event and marketing company Sbarc, and has also recently set up Community Interest Company, Piws, to help businesses become more accessible.
Davina is devoted to helping create a more inclusive, accessible Wales and is advocating for equality in the workplace, an objective inspired by caring for her family.
As a carer, Davina looks after her 96-year-old father, Bengy, who is partially blind, her husband, Kit, who suffered a brain injury, her 26-year-old autistic son, Benjie (Jr.), and her 23-year-old son, Oscar, who has ADHD, diabetes type 1, and who also suffered with ulcerative colitis which resulted in an ileostomy bag.
Davina said: “I am well aware of the discrepancies between the stigma surrounding employing disabled people compared to their actual capabilities.
“As an employer who employs people with differing conditions, I am aware of the wide range of impairments and to accommodate for these I have adapted my approach by being flexible.”
With that in mind, Davina ensures her recruitment processes allow for transparency when disclosing impairments so that everyone who has an impairment is given the opportunity to discuss any reasonable adjustments in a secure and non-judgmental situation.
Davina attributes empathy and visibility of support for playing a central role in creating an open, comfortable environment for all workers. Having employed a number of people with diverse conditions, she understands the importance of having an honest conversation with staff to ensure they are supported.
Davina said: “I actively encourage my employees to share their needs, this allows us all to focus on the job in hand as a team with an understanding of everyone’s personal requirements, whether that’s having to visit home as a carer or needing to have more breaks.”
Her latest venture, Piws, offers guidance, training and support to help tourism and leisure businesses across Anglesey become more accessible. At Piws she is concentrating on raising the profile of the various conditions, breaking down the barriers between businesses and those with impairments.
Davina said: “Over the years, I’ve found there can be a stigma around the word ‘disabled’. The traditional understanding is outdated and is leaving many disabled workers fearful of opening up to their employers.
“In reality, most required adjustments in the workplace are simple, reasonable changes. In fact, the average cost of a workplace adjustment is just £30.
“Thankfully, due to spreading awareness on the false perceptions around hiring disabled employees, this mindset is now changing rapidly, and it is vital the progress continues.”
To help businesses access an untapped pool of talent there is a wide range of support and advice available to help attract, recruit and retain disabled people.
Businesses could be eligible for funding through the Access to Work scheme, which helps cover the cost of any practical support a person with an impairment may need to start or stay in work, as well as funding to help pay for any adaptations to the working environment or installation of any special equipment.
In addition to financial support, the Welsh Government has recently appointed a network of Disabled People’s Employment Champions, who are working in partnership with our Business Wales service, to offer businesses bespoke advice on being a more inclusive employers, recruitment practices and access to the support which is available to them and their employees.
For more information on how your business can attract, recruit, and retain disabled employees, contact the Disabled People’s Employment Champions by emailing [email protected] or visit Skills Gateway for Business.