People with complex disabilities are receiving support to learn new skills, build their confidence and find employment, thanks to an ongoing partnership between the national disability charity Sense and recruitment specialist Pertemps.

In the UK, the employment rate for disabled people is 52 per cent, compared to 81 per cent for non-disabled people. The gap increases for people with more complex needs, with only 18 per cent employed.

Sense’s partnership with Pertemps started in 2022, aimed at tackling the employment gap. Since then, the West Midlands based recruitment firm has donated £100,000 to the charity, funding its employment service, which provides help with searching for jobs, job interviews and support in the workplace.

In turn, Sense advises Pertemps (which recently won an award from ‘Investors in People’ for its inclusivity and diversity work) on the creation of more inclusive recruitment processes and materials.

People with complex disabilities face many barriers in the labour market, including a lack of support while looking for roles, inaccessible recruitment practices and unsympathetic employers.

The strategic partnership between Sense and Pertemps seeks to ensure that careers are not only accessible but tailored to meet the unique needs of individuals with diverse abilities.

Pertemps Chair Carmen Watson said: “Pertemps is dedicated to pioneering inclusivity and breaking down barriers for individuals with complex disabilities.

“We believe in the power of collaboration to make meaningful change and, together with Sense, we are committed to making a lasting impact on the lives and careers of those we serve.”

Eimear Daly, Head of Philanthropy and Special Events at Sense, added: “With the support of Pertemps, our employment service is creating meaningful change, helping people with complex disabilities to develop new skills, build confidence and find work.

“This is about combining our expertise to help people not only find employment but thrive in fulfilling and rewarding roles.”

Sense currently offers employment support in-person to disabled people living in the Midlands, at its centres in Birmingham and Loughborough, and online and telephone support to people living in other parts of the country.

Case study

Patrick Watson (66) from Birmingham, is visually impaired and uses specialist equipment, such as a screen reader and magnifier, to do his job for the NHS in a local appointments centre.

When Patrick was looking for work, he turned to Sense for help. Sense understood his needs and helped him update his CV and covering letter and then provided interview technique training and arranged for him to go on a customer service course.

Patrick said: “Sometimes you get to the stage where you think ‘with my disability there’s no jobs’ and it’s really difficult. But there are opportunities for us as long as we get the support we need.”