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By Bira

Disability Confidence can benefit your business

“The High Street is changing to meet new challenges and opportunities, such as emerging technologies and shifting customer demands,” says Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work (right).

“But some basics don’t change – great customer service remains key and people remain at the heart of achieving this.

“Despite the challenges, jobs continue to be created in retail, with more than 90,000 vacancies across the sector. The competition to attract the right people with the right skills is high and employers in all sectors and of all sizes are recognising the need not only to look at all potential sources of talent, but also to understand how to best attract and retain a diverse range of people who reflect the diverse range of customers.

“There are over 7m working-age people in the UK who have a disability or health condition, representing a vast and varied pool of talent that retailers could tap into.

“Some businesses have misconceptions, however, about what employing a disabled person will mean. For example, disabled people don’t always need expensive workplace adjustments. In reality, many don’t need any adjustments at all and, if they do, these can be inexpensive. In addition, where there is a cost, the government’s Access to Work scheme can provide support.

“Many businesses tell me that they lack the confidence to employ disabled people. The Disability Confident scheme can help where employers are concerned about ‘doing or saying the wrong thing’ by giving them the skills and tools they need to successfully recruit and retain disabled people.

“ The scheme has three levels: Disability Confident Committed; Employer; and Leader. The entry level standard is really accessible and, because Disability Confident is a journey, signing up as Committed doesn’t mean that your business has to get everything right first time, all the time. It also provides free support for members, including online guidance, access to members-only social media groups offering peer-to-peer advice, and priority access to specialist events to help organisations progress through the Disability Confident levels.

“I was delighted that my Disability Confident team were able to attend bira’s annual conference on 10 May and talk to members about the scheme. They were struck by how many retailers were already building their know-how to make their businesses inclusive, which was great to hear.

“Becoming Disability Confident can help your business in this endeavour. A number of small and medium-sized retailers are already benefitting from the support the scheme can give them. So I urge you to join them and the 6,000 organisations already signed up. It’s free and you can start your Disability Confident journey by going to”


Disability Confidence can benefit your business. bira. British Independent Retails Association.

Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

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