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Why Disability Matters

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Why Disability Matters - David Kenyon, Scottish Government

As the Science and Engineering profession seeks to become more diverse and inclusive, I am delighted to have been asked to lead the work of the Disability working group. Our challenge is not only to increase the recruitment and retention of disabled staff but also to ensure that there is an environment and culture that ensures they can thrive and succeed at work. It is equally important that we champion disabled staff by promoting and celebrating the contribution they make to the Civil Service and Science and Engineering.

In recruitment, even small interventions can make a difference, as I found when interviewing a candidate who needed to lipread. Simply making sure that we were not sitting in front of a window so she could clearly see our faces removed the barrier that could have affected her performance, and yes, she got the job!

As someone who lives with dyslexia and who also has Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, I know that for many individuals they, like me, have had to adapt to living and working with their conditions. However, there is a wealth of adjustments that can be provided to support individuals in the workplace and it is important that managers ask about the support they can provide and whilst a different chair or desk, or even positioning within an office or laboratory can be hugely beneficial to a colleague’s working environment. Sometimes just understanding that someone has days when they are not feeling great makes a difference


Vicki Chalker Head of Science and Engineering Profession and Chair of the GSE Diversity and Inclusion Action Group

I am delighted David Kenyon is leading the Government Science and Engineering Disability Working Group. Not all disabilities are visible. It is crucial that we listen to and support those living and working with disabilities and continue to strive to improve recruitment practice, working environments and the culture to ensure we work together to be more inclusive and enable highly skilled people living with disability to excel with equity across the Government Science and Engineering Profession. Together we will achieve more.  Do what you can, listen and learn and act.

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