BBC’s Employable Me tells the real story of the challenges faced by disabled jobseekers
Like many of you, we have been absolutely captivated by the BBC Two Show, “Employable Me”, which documents the extreme challenges faced by unemployed individuals with neurological conditions such as Tourette’s or Autism when it comes to getting a job. For those of you who missed it, the show challenges employers to see beyond the participants’ disabilities and instead focus on the creativity, innovation and at times, sheer brilliance these extraordinary individuals can bring to the workplace.
Its makers, the BBC explain: ‘At the series’ heart is a radical new emerging idea in science: that neurological conditions shouldn’t always be looked at in negative terms. By working with experts such as Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, Professor Simon Baron Cohen, and occupational psychologist Nancy Doyle, the job seekers are shown how the strengths and unique skillsets that accompany neuro-developmental conditions can be harnessed in order to help land them their dream job’.
In the first episode, we were introduced to 34 year old Brett who suffers from severe Autism. Due to his disability, Brett struggles to communicate clearly unless he writes down his thoughts. As such the standard interview process was not something he was able to cope with and Brett found himself rejected from literally hundreds of jobs due to his lack of social skills. That’s despite his elevated creative thinking and impressive visual problem solving abilities, which are both extremely positive traits of his condition and skills that are highly sought after by employers.
Unlike most other people, Brett thinks visually and logically rather than verbally. He can see patterns that most of us are oblivious to. After a successful employment trial organised via the show, Brett was offered a job as a technician with Peacocks, a company that designs and builds medical equipment, where his ability to solve problems visually is really put to use. Brett now has a fantastic new career ahead of him and his new employer is already benefiting from his unique gift for visual problem solving. Crucially, Brett also feels accepted by his new colleagues and like a vital part of the team. He is now working happily in the company’s Computer Aided Design (CAD) team doing 3D modelling which is something that he expressed interest in from the outset. Find out more here.
Brett’s story is just one of the positive examples documented in the show. At RIDI, we strongly believe that if more employers are able to see beyond any initial awkwardness and give individuals like Brett a chance to demonstrate their remarkable skills in a less pressured environment, they will open up valuable new talent pools. It’s time for us all to recognise that being different can be good and it can also drive competitive advantage!
If you are already taking steps to remove barriers for disabled people to work at your organisation, we want to hear from you! Enter the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Awards and tell us your story. The RIDI Awards offer a variety of award categories, celebrating the different stages of a company’s progression into the complete diversification of the workplace. There are 9 categories reflecting the different stages of the recruitment process for employers and disabled talent. Find out more and enter on our categories page.
Missed Employable Me? Catch up on iPlayer now.
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 call 02037405973 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.