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Understanding The Implications Of Living With A Disability

Graduate Recruiter’s Breakfast Seminar (BS’4)
Hosted by Allen and Overy

On the 25th April, 2012 members of the Graduate Recruiters Disability Café Club (GRDCC) gathered at Allen & Overy’s Bishops Gate office for the fourth Breakfast Seminar, events which are run exclusively for GRDCC members. This seminar aimed to help recruiters understand the implications that having a disability can have on academic life and on navigating the recruitment process.

Often recruiters view disability in the abstract—without firsthand knowledge of how disability can affect a person’s life, genuine understanding remains elusive. At this event, students and recent graduates build their knowledge of disability by discussing the impact of their own disabilities on university life, academic study, and in applying to firms.

Helen Cooke, Director of My Plus Consulting, started the seminar by speaking about disability and what constitutes a disability under The Equality Act. The broad definition of disability means that a wide range of conditions are included under the Act.

In small groups, students and recent graduates shared personal experiences of having a disability and the implications on their lives. Recruiters heard from individuals who had first hand experiences of spinal injury, visual impairment, bi-polar and anxiety disorders and in doing so were given some unique insights into what it is like to live with a disability on a day to day basis.

In addition, recruiters heard how disabled students may view their firms. Students and recent graduates explained how aspects of the recruitment process could be helpful and welcoming, as well as what might inadvertently turn disabled students away.

After the small-group discussions, recruiters shared what they had heard and the implications of these insights on their own recruitment strategies. Recruiters discussed key issues in greater depth and considered ways to alter or improve their recruitment practices.

The students and recent graduates who attended this Breakfast Seminar found it challenging to discuss disability so candidly, shedding light on how difficult disclosure can be for many students. Disclosure is an issue that will be addressed at the next Disability Café which is taking place on the 26th September.