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If you belong to a group of people who have experienced prejudice or discrimination when looking for work, your job search may be more challenging. The Solent Futures team at Southampton Solent University are committed to equality of opportunity and supporting all students to succeed.
If you would like to talk to someone in Solent Futures about any of the issues detailed below, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop in to the Solent Futures Centre in RM001 to speak to an adviser at our daily advice desk.
Details of daily advice desk
We have developed a range of resources containing advice, top tips and useful web links. These cover the most common equality issues. We also advise you to do your own research if you think you have an issue that may affect your job search.
You do not have any legal obligation to tell a potential employer if you have a disability unless you want to. It is your personal choice as detailed in the Equality Act 2010.
When making this decision you should consider whether your disability potentially raises a health and safety issue. An example of this is if you have epilepsy and may experience a seizure at work. Another factor in this decision is whether or not you require any adjustments to enable you to undertake your day to work or even to attend the interview.
Example letter to employer
Many employers are employing applicants with disabilities and health conditions, and striving for greater diversity in the workplace. Good employers recognise that there are advantages to recruiting a diverse workforce.
Some employers offer schemes specifically aimed at students and graduates with disabilities or long term health conditions. Others offer opportunities for all, but as well as mainstream recruitment sites, they also advertise through specialist sites such as EmployAbility (see link below).
Take a look at the employer's diversity policy on their website. Check to see if they are a member of the Business Disability Forum. Look for these icons on an employer’s website:
The "two ticks" symbol is the most commonly used on job adverts and application forms to show that disabled applicants are welcome. The logo demonstrates that an employer is particularly positive about employing and retaining disabled people.
The Mindful Employer charter demonstrates an employer's commitment to being positive about mental health. The logo "shows that an employer is supportive of conditions such as anxiety and depression".
Open - Provides university students with a disability or long term health condition with an insight into a career in commercial law.
Getting Investment banking - Provides university students with a disability or long term health condition with an insight into a career in investment banking.
Go-Great Opportunities – A unique careers event for talented 6th form students and first year university students with a disability or health condition.
For those studying Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Informatics, or a closely related technical ﬁeld: Google Europe scholarship for students with disabilities.
Engineering / Science: Shell Graduate Programme (Engineering/Science) in Partnership with EmployAbility.
British Council EmployAbility Summer Internship Scheme.
Change 100: Internship programme which brings together the UK’s top employers and talented disabled students.
Target Jobs – Within their careers advice section, they have information related to equality and diversity.
Prospects – Provide careers advice and job and course opportunities to students and graduates. This includes an examples of a cover letter disclosing a disability.
CareerBox – The self-promotion section contains a wealth of useful information related to cover letters as well as equality and diversity.
Business Disability Forum - A not-for-profit member organisation that makes it easier and more rewarding to do business with and employ disabled people.
Vercida.com – This site only displays jobs from employers who understand the value of building a diverse workforce.
EmployAbility - Not-for-profit organisation dedicated to assisting students and graduates with all disabilities, including dyslexia or long term health conditions, into employment.
Great with Disability – Provides a wealth of information, advice and case studies as well as job adverts from a range of major organisations.
Elevation Networks – Range of activities including internships, mentoring and work experience schemes.
This following cover letter is a good example of how a positive declaration of your disability can form part of a great cover letter. See text highlighted in bold.
Dear Mr Mitchell
Re: Trainee Manager
I am writing to you in connection with the trainee manager vacancy, which was recently advertised in Prospects Today. Please find enclosed a copy of my CV.
As you will see from my CV, I have recently graduated from Southampton Solent University with a degree in Business Management. I believe that this, together with my work experience to date, has equipped me with the knowledge and skills relevant to the above role. In particular, I would like to highlight the following aspects of my experience which I believe would add value to your organisation.
Detailed knowledge of business administration systems – developed through my recent degree level study, where I specialised in Human Resource strategy and a three month work placement with the Ordnance Survey, both of which have provided me with a valuable insight into current industrial management practice and an awareness of likely future developments in this field.
Effective communication and interpersonal skills – developed through working on several team based projects at university as well as the above placement and a number of part-time positions, where I dealt regularly with customers and colleagues at all levels. My recent summer placement within the Customer Service Division of HSBC developed my ability to deal effectively with people from a wide variety of backgrounds in an organization which places high value on customer service. Additionally, my own experience as a customer and as someone with a visual impairment has developed my awareness of the need to treat everyone as an individual with individual needs.
Experience and expertise in current IT applications – initially developed through the need to overcome my disability by learning at an early age to use complex computer software to read text and subsequently through ongoing IT courses at school and college and regularly completing assignments.
Additionally, I have a very high degree of flexibility and adaptability which has been developed largely as a positive consequence of my disability which has never restricted my ability to provide an excellent service to my employers and customers. I have a strong desire to develop a career in management and am particularly interested in working for Excell Employ as I have a keen interest in the ongoing development of the IT industry.
I am available for interview at any time, I would appreciate such an opportunity, which would allow me to discuss with you in more detail, why I believe I meet the requirements for the position.
Many employers recognise that certain groups are underrepresented in their work force and are taking positive action to rectify this situation.
According to the Equality Act 2010 you must not be discriminated against because of your race. This refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour and nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins. On adverts or in information the abbreviation of BME or BAME is often used. This stands for Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic.
But how can you identify these employers and what steps can you take to positively market yourself? Read these top tips to find out more.
House of Commons – Internship Programme in partnership with the Windsor Fellowship
The Taylor Bennett Foundation - Work-based PR training programme
BAE Systems – Futures in Engineering Internship in partnership with the Windsor Fellowship
CareerBox – The Options and Opportunities section contains a wealth of useful information related to finding appropriate opportunities.
Creative Access - Provide opportunities for paid internships in the creative industries for young people of graduate (or equivalent standard) from under-represented black, Asian and other non-white minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME).
Diversity Job Site - The Diversity Jobsite has been created to help employers find the highest quality jobseekers from within the ethnic and minority populations of the UK, and showcase the full range of opportunities that exist for jobseekers within companies that are Equal Opportunity Employers.
Ethnic Job Site – Ethnic Jobsite has been serving the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community for a decade and offers recruitment advertisers a variety of ways to target the right candidates and address exclusion, bridging the gap between employers and ethnic minorities in the UK.
Target Jobs – Within their careers advice section, they have a range of useful information related to equality & diversity.
The Voice - An award winning mixture of news, features, jobs, sports and celebrity interviews aimed at the British black community.
The Windsor Fellowship - The Windsor Fellowship (WF) is a unique charitable organisation. They design and deliver innovative personal development and leadership programmes, which enables talent from diverse communities to be realised.
Mature students are defined as any student aged 21 or over at the start of their studies. When discussing the mature or older workforce, this generally applies to those aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of age.
'Age neutral' application forms are now common and employers are making sure their publicity and recruitment material doesn't put off older or younger people from applying. Target Jobs
“As an employer what we’re looking for is to hire individuals who are enthusiastic and have the right skills to succeed.” Allianz
Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide. They recently won the Excellence in Diversity Award 2016 in the Private Sector category.
Within KPMG’s FAQs, when asked about an age limit for their graduate schemes, they said:
‘No, age is not important to us. KPMG is an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from all backgrounds. We pride ourselves on our commitment to creating the kind of inclusive workplace that treats everyone with respect, and where people can be themselves and still achieve their potential. All applicants are judged on their demonstrated abilities, so as long as you meet our minimum academic criteria, you can apply to KPMG.’
Target Jobs - In their careers advice section they have a range of useful information related to equality & diversity.
TAEN - The Age and Employment Network works to promote an effective labour market that serves the needs of people in mid and later life, employers and the economy.
Disclosing your sexual orientation to any prospective employer is an entirely personal decision. You are not legally obliged to say anything. It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment.
It is hard enough to find employment upon graduation, without feeling you have to hide part of who you are. Many employers actively promote the fact that they support LGBT applicants and employees and are responsive to their needs. Many wish to develop a sense of justice and endeavour to attract the best candidates, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
According to a survey conducted by Stonewall, ‘People who are out as LGB at work experience better job satisfaction and have a higher sense of achievement, according to 67 per cent of lesbian, gay and bi people’ (stonewall.org.uk).
Proud Employers - Proud Employers is a place for jobseekers to find roles with lesbian gay bisexual and trans-friendly employers and for organisations to attract more diverse staff to their workplaces.
Starting Out Guide - On this website you'll find profiles of Stonewall's Diversity Champions - British employers who actively demonstrate commitment to their LGBT staff.
Vercida.com – This site only displays jobs from employers who understand the value of building a diverse workforce.
Target Jobs – information related to equality and diversity in the careers advice section.
CareerBox – Options and Opportunities section contains a wealth of useful information related to finding appropriate opportunities.
You do not need to disclose anything to a potential employer until they ask. Some employers wait until making a job offer before asking, whereas others will have a tick box on their application forms.
The only exception to this is when the work involves contact with disabled, elderly, mentally ill people or under 18s. The same applies to certain professions including lawyers, teachers, medics, nurses and social workers. In these cases you must disclose any convictions even if they are ‘spent’.
Often, you will be asked to apply for a job with a CV and covering letter. Submitting a CV gives you an opportunity to sell yourself by writing about your experience, knowledge and skills and why you are the best person for the job.
Consult our flowchart - 'Do I need to disclose?'
Nacro - a charity which provides advice, training and support.
Target Jobs – Within their careers advice section, they have information related to equality & diversity.
Prospects – Provide careers advice and job and course opportunities to students and graduates. This includes advice on writing CVs, cover letters and applications.
CareerBox – The self-promotion section contains a wealth of useful information related to cover letters as well as equality & diversity.
Unlock - Unlock is an independent, award-winning charity for people with convictions.
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Page last updated on Thursday 22 June 2017 at 5.01pm.
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