- Hinckley-based Cadent named ‘Disability Confident Employer’
- Company aims to become a welcoming workplace for people with disabilities
- Award-winning internship scheme for young people with learning disabilities helps company achieve prestigious status
The Government has named Hinckley-based gas distributor Cadent a ‘Disability Confident Employer’ after the company’s efforts to becoming a welcoming workplace for people with disabilities.
The company, which runs an award-winning internship scheme for local young people with learning needs and disabilities, celebrated achieving becoming a ‘Disability Confident Employer’ with staff today (3 December) – the International Day of People with Disabilities #IDPWD2019.
Cadent was awarded Disability Confident status for a range of measures it is taking to recruit and retain employees with disabilities. These include Cadent’s award-winning EmployAbility supported internship scheme, which provides work placements and qualifications for students from Hinckley’s Dorothy Goodman Academy.
Steve Fraser, Chief Executive of Cadent, said: “We are committed to making Cadent a welcoming place for people with disabilities.
“At Cadent we focus on people’s abilities not their disabilities. We want to recruit the best people and by transforming the way we do things we can open the door to a pool of hugely talented people who are often not getting the opportunities they deserve.
“We are delighted to have achieved ‘Disability Confident Employer’ status and now need to go beyond that and ensure Cadent is the best workplace it can be for people with disabilities.”
Among the initiatives that earned Cadent ‘Disabiilty Confident Employer’ status was the company’s award-winning EmployAbility supported internship scheme. The year-long scheme provides work placements and qualifications for students from two local specialist schools - Hinckley’s Dorothy Goodman Academy and Nuneaton’s Oak Wood School.
More than 70% of interns land a job at the end of the scheme, compared with less than seven per cent of people nationally with learning disabilities.
Cadent has also taken a number of other measures, including working with Job Centre-plus to ensure its job adverts reach people with disabilities, making reasonable adjustments to enable people with disabilities are able to access Cadent sites and making sure that information about assistance and support available, for example around mental health and well-being, is easily accessible to everyone.
Current EmployAbility intern Eliza, 18, of Dorothy Goodman School, has just completed her first work placement with Cadent. She said: “EmployAbility is great because it includes people with disabilities and gives us fantastic experience in the workplace. It means that people with disabilities aren’t shut out.”
Emma Brown, an Investment Strategy Analyst at Cadent’s Hinckley site, was diagnosed as a teenager with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, an inherited neurological condition.
By age 17 she was in a wheelchair and forced to give up her dream of being a chef. Instead she studied information technology and has worked for Cadent for 15 years. Cadent provided Emma with specialist voice recognition software to help her carry out some day-to-day tasks.
‘People often make assumptions when they see me, around my capabilities and intellect but I’ve had so much support over the last 15 years that I’ve been able to progress my career at a pace that I’m comfortable with and with the right support in place. Everyone is so supportive and even when I’m finding things hard, I’m still able to achieve great things and I’m really proud of that.
‘It’s really important to me that we break down perceptions and I’m really pleased to see initiatives like roundtables and commitments to diversity and inclusion that Cadent is making as a business,” said Emma.
Cadent Customer Specialist Tracy Wood was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) two years ago. She praised the support she has had from Cadent.
“My manager has been fantastic. After I was diagnosed I was referred to our Occupational Health provider, who have been in touch to make sure I have everything I need.
“The company has been very supportive in enabling me to attend regular hospital appointments. MS can make you very tired so Cadent has offered me the option of working from home when I need to.
“I haven’t yet needed to take up this option but it’s nice to know that it’s there.”
Pictured left to right, front row: EmployAbility interns Milly, Eliza, Hannah and Lauren. Back row, left to right: EmployAbility interns Tommy and Kiran; Cadent Chief People Officer Martin Rimmer; EmployAbility intern Reece; Cadent Chief Executive Steve Fraser; EmployAbility interns Michael and Niall.