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CCEP achieved its level 1 certification in the UK government’s Disability Confident scheme recently. We ask Nick Forkin, Head of Talent Acquisition Coca-Cola GB, what this means.

Category: Disability Confident, Coca Cola European Partners, Disability Inclusive, disabilty in workplace, Cultural Inclusion

Disability coco-cola

CCEP achieved its level 1 certification in the UK government’s Disability Confident scheme recently. We ask Nick Forkin, Head of Talent Acquisition Coca-Cola GB, what this means.

What is the Disability Confident scheme? In short, it’s a government-created and led scheme designed to encourage employers to think more broadly about tapping into the wealth of talent among disabled people. There’s a huge talent pool out there that employers aren’t accessing nearly as well as they could, partly because of a lack of confidence. They’re often not quite sure what adjustments they’re going to need to make to accommodate people with disabilities. Equally, candidates with disabilities often don’t know whether they’ll be properly welcomed and accommodated when they join a business. The Disability Confident scheme aims to bridge this gap.

How do employers become certified? Achieving certification is a three-stage process. Employers work their way through it by completing particular tasks. It’s not about ticking the boxes on the minimum legal obligations, but about going above and beyond to demonstrate that they are really open to working with employees with disabilities. The scheme encourages employers to learn about what working with people with disabilities entails. Equally, if you can put the Disability Confident symbol on your website or on job advertisement, this gives candidates with disabilities the confidence that they’ll be properly accommodated – both via the interview process and also if they do get a job with you. There are three levels of accreditation: Level 1 (Disability Confident Committed), Level 2 (Disability Confident Employer), and Level 3 (Disability Confident Leader). Companies self-certify in the first two stages, and are audited by the scheme to achieve Level 3 certification.

Why did CCEP get involved with the scheme? We wanted to broadcast the fact that we’re very committed to hiring candidates from different backgrounds across the diversity spectrum, and that obviously includes people with disabilities. We’re pleased with our Level 1 certification and we already meet most of the requirements to be at Level 2. But we want to make sure we carefully work our way through the criteria, are fully prepared and ready to accommodate people with disabilities and can genuinely make a difference.

Surely CCEP employs people with disabilities already? Yes, we do. But part of this exercise is to raise awareness. It’s about enabling disabled CCEP employees to understand our approach to disabilities and letting them know it’s okay to shout about being disabled – they shouldn’t have to hide at all.

What criteria must you meet to be able to self-certify? These include legal requirements such as advertising the fact that we’ve made reasonable adjustments for anyone wanting to apply for jobs with us; that we have disabled facilities; that we’re committed to employing people with disabilities, and will provide work experience, apprenticeships, job-shadow opportunities, and internships. We offer all of this already, and if somebody with a disability applies for a position, that’s great. Our challenge is that we don’t get many applications from people with disabilities. This is an opportunity for us to encourage people to come forward.

How can you be more proactive about attracting people with disabilities? We’ve started a relationship with the charity Leonard Cheshire, which was set up to support people with disabilities. They run a programme, Change 100, which matches us up with people with disabilities who want to do a three-month paid internship. We have our first intake of interns next summer. This will be a learning opportunity for all of us.
Why this focus on disability? As a business, we have a very strong focus on diversity, and over the past few years we’ve been trying

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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Coca-Cola European Partners

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