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A new Disability Confident scheme has been launched that gives employers the tools they need to recruit, retain and develop disabled people in their workforce.

The new scheme will build on the first phase of Disability Confident, introduced in July 2013, which has been creating a movement for change by getting employers to think differently about disability and take action to attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“Disability Confident is about increasing opportunities for disabled people and for employers and this major revamp will take the scheme to the next level.

“More than 2,400 businesses have signed up so far and this is a great start but I want to see all employers challenging the misconceptions of the past and realising the many benefits disabled people can bring to the workplace.

“I urge employers everywhere to become Disability Confident and make the most of this untapped pool of talent.”

Latest figures show that employment prospects for disabled people are improving. Nearly 3.4 million disabled people are now in work, up almost 500,000 in 3 years. A recent report from the CIPD has shown that disabled employees outperform their colleagues in a range of areas, including professional ambition and innovation.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is using its position as the professional body for UK recruitment businesses to encourage employers from all sectors to get involved.

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy REC, said about the scheme:

“People transform businesses and jobs transform lives. Dismantling barriers and misperceptions about hiring disabled people is not just the right thing to do, it’s also a way to address candidate shortages faced by employers in many sectors.

“Recruiters have a responsibility to advocate to their clients the social and business benefits of building an inclusive and diverse workforce. Many REC members are already stepping up and making a tangible difference. We’re very proud to support the Disability Confident scheme which will play a pivotal role in raising awareness.”

By giving employers the tools and techniques to help them recruit, retain and develop more disabled people, Disability Confident will be an important contributor towards the Government’s ambition to halve the disability employment gap.