Back Up Trust & RBS: A 360° approach to disability and employment

Back Up Trust and Royal Bank of Scotland logos
 

Back Up is a national charity that supports individuals following a spinal cord injury. One of the greatest challenges for these individuals is finding employment. Helen Cooke, Director of MyPlus Consulting, worked with Back Up to design and deliver a 2-day work skills course.

Objectives

The objectives of the course were two fold. For the spinally injured participants the 2 key objectives were:

  • To increase the confidence of the individual to start / return to employment
  • To increase the confidence of the sponsor company to employ and support disabled individuals

For the Royal Bank of Scotland, sponsors of the course, it was an innovative way to learn more about spinal cord injury, increase confidence about disability in general, and have access to a pool of talent.

The course

During the course the delegates were taken through the process of preparing for employment. This included recognising their competencies, CV writing and preparing for an interview. The course culminated in speed-interviews with managers from RBS. Since no real jobs were at stake, the delegates felt safe to experiment, learn and raise all the concerns that they had.

The outcomes

Many, if not all, of the delegates started the course doubting they had anything to offer an employer. They didn’t recognise the skills that they could bring to an organisation. They also saw declaring their disability as a major hurdle. Their increase in confidence enabled them to realise that they would be an asset to any employer and that accommodating their wheelchair wouldn’t be an issue.

The support provided by the sponsoring organisation throughout the 2 days enabled them to learn about supporting disabled individuals. The course addressed their concerns and challenges around how to accommodate the needs of disabled individuals and how to overcome the fear of “getting it wrong”.

What the delegates said:

“Attending the Work Skills Course was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Helen’s delivery is extremely energetic and what I learnt exceeded all of my expectation ns. The real benefit for me was being able to practice my interview skills and gaining really constructive feedback.”

“The training really met my objectives. It was a very informative 2 days. It covered all of the issues concerning both starting work for the first time and returning to work after the onset of a disability. The main thing I gained was confidence.”

“The Work Skills Course was fantastic and undoubtedly the most valuable thing I had done since leaving university. It inspired me to crack on and get going with things. In the weeks following, I got my backside into gear and managed to organise various meetings with people and even a week’s work experience.”