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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Scottish Gov to 'lead by example' by offering internships for disabled people

Written by The Press Association

Disabled people will be offered internships in the Scottish Government as part of a series of measures to help them into work.

The internship programme starts in September and forms part of 120 places offered in the public sector, voluntary and charity organisations and politics.

Non-disabled people are twice as likely to be in work than disabled people, with the Scottish disability employment rate at 40.9% compared with a non-disabled employment rate of 81.5%. The Scottish Government has a long-term aim of halving this gap.

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government and public sector had to "lead by example" in helping support disabled people into work.

She highlighted further plans including a new campaign launching next month to raise awareness among small and medium-sized businesses of the benefits of hiring more disabled people, and a major congress on disability, employment and the workplace due to take place in December.

The Government is also holding a review on whether a fund to help disabled people become elected to public office could be extended to help those who want to undertake other forms of public service, which will report back in autumn.

Ms Freeman said: "Time and again I hear from disabled people across the country about how they want to contribute and play their part in society. Part of this is having meaningful employment.

"While businesses have a vital role to play in this, it is also up to the Scottish Government and the public sector to lead by example. That is why I'm pleased to be able to announce this package of measures that will help open up opportunities for disabled people - giving them the necessary skills and tools to allow them to have an equal chance of competing in the labour market.

"These are part of a wider package of measures contained in our delivery plan to strengthen the rights of disabled people in this country."

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