How we can help Work Meet the Job Match Team - Tommy Cairns I’ve been working with Disability Action since 2015 and am currently an Employment Engagement Officer on Job Match, engaging with medium to large employers across the Northwest region (from Derry/Londonderry to Antrim!) to support and advise them on the recruitment of disabled people; sourcing employment opportunities for our Job Match participants. I work with the wider disability sector and partner organisations to maximise the potential for employment opportunities for disabled people across NI. This year I was invited to speak at the European Union of Supported Employment Conference in Amsterdam! Career Route After completing a BA Social Sciences and BSc Hons Social Work in 2014 I began working with Disability Action in 2015 as a volunteer on the Employment Advocacy Service - a peer led service, delivered by disabled people, for disabled people - which supports people who are having difficulties in work. It also delivers advocacy and self-advocacy to help disabled people stay in work. After several months of volunteering I started work in December 2015 on the Workable NI programme which aims to help disabled people to sustain long term employment by providing supported employment to disabled people who are in work, whilst also supporting their employers. In 2017 I began working on Job Match, as a Supported Employment Officer, providing one to one support to disabled people who were seeking employment in a wide range of sectors. This involved working with individuals and employers to ensure that the new job was a great fit for both. I was then appointed as one of two Employment Engagement Officers on Job Match. My Working Day Each day I engage with and visit potential employers at their business premises throughout the North West to promote positive action recruitment and best practice in the recruitment of disabled people. Once employers become involved with Job Match I provide support, advice and guidance to them, prior to and during the recruitment process, helping them to make reasonable adjustments such as ring fencing posts for disabled applicants, targeted recruitment of people with disabilities and amending the recruitment and selection process to make it more accessible to disabled applicants. Our team of Supported Employment Officers provide ongoing support for employers. Attending networking events, job fairs and various events across multiple sectors to promote Job Match is integral to sourcing suitable candidates on behalf of employers. Equipping Job Match participants with the right skills needed to progress to employment across a range of sectors is essential. I organise and facilitate Soft Skills Workshops to develop Participant’s skills. Guest employers are invited to these workshops to share their insights on what is involved in working for a particular company and sector and what skills are required. These workshops have proven to be successful in helping Job Match participants find work in a range of sectors from construction and hospitality, to retail and customer service. Job Satisfaction One of the most satisfying things about my job is that it gives me the opportunity to help create jobs and remove barriers to employment for disabled people. As a disabled person I have experienced barriers to employment, and to be able to share my experiences, both personal and professional, and help someone else get a new job is really rewarding. Further to this the opportunity to engage with local employers across all sectors, and share my insights on the recruitment process, and the types of support available to them, through the promotion of Positive Action Recruitment, allows me to deliver both a comprehensive and rewarding service to local employers. Earlier this year I attended the European Union of Supported Employment Conference in Amsterdam, both as an employee of Job Match and as a guest speaker, where I shared both my professional and personal experiences of supported employment and disability. It’s one of the most exciting things I have done recently, and a great opportunity! Message to Employers The advantages to employing a participant on Job Match are numerous including promoting diversity in your workforce and receiving ongoing support from our team of supported employment professionals. However, feedback from local employers speaks for itself: Get in touch If you are considering positive action recruitment, would like to offer a recruitment opportunity to a disabled person, or would like more information on how to recruit and retain more disabled staff please get in touch with me (Email: [email protected] or Tel: 07970 753248) or the wider team Disability Action, and we will be happy to support you in any way we can. Read more about Job Match. You can also download our handy 5 step guide: Employing people with Disabilities, A Positive Action Guide for Employers here.