Central Ayrshire's MP has signed up to a new scheme to become a ‘disability confident’ employer.

Dr Philippa Whitford has also taken on the scheme’s summer challenge to get more local employers on board with disability employment.

The Disability Confident scheme supports employers who want to make their organisation more inclusive, thereby providing more disabled people and those with long term health conditions with opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

The summer challenge is part of a national campaign to encourage employers to sign up and open up their workforce to disabled people.

MPs will engage with employers in their constituency to try and become a Disability Confident region before returning to Parliament next month.

Dr Whitford said: “I am delighted to commit to becoming more disability confident and to working towards the status of Disability Confident Employer.

“I am also looking forward to taking up the MP summer challenge to raise awareness among local employers about the support available to make a workplace accessible for someone with a mobility or sensory issue.

“Disabled people make up a fifth of the working age population yet less than half of them are in work as there are still many barriers that prevent many disabled people from securing employment.

“When you consider that over 80 per cent of all disability is acquired as we age, as people work longer, employers will need to be prepared to adapt if they are to retain talented and experienced staff.

“The Disability Confident scheme works with employers to help them to make their organisation more inclusive.

“By being able to display the Disability Confident kite mark, their participation sends a powerful signal to disabled candidates that if they apply to that firm they can have confidence their needs and concerns will be understood and supported.

“If we are to succeed in significantly reducing the disability employment gap, it is vital that potential employers have sufficient information and support to feel confident in recruiting and retaining disabled employees.

“This is why I am encouraging employers across Central Ayrshire to sign up to the Disability Confident scheme." 

If you are an employer interested in finding out more about the scheme and the opportunities availale, please contact Dr Whitford’s office on 01294 311 160.