Torridge Helps to Break Down Barriers for Disabled Employees

Sarah Ayres, HR Manager; Council Leader, Jane Whittaker; Anna Wolf, Student; Jon Walter, Mentor

This summer Torridge District Council joined the small number of Council's to take part in the Change 100 programme. The programme, provided by the Leonard Cheshire charity, brings together the UK's top employers and talented disabled students and graduates to offer three months of paid work experience.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Jane Whittaker said, "As a small Local Authority it was great for Torridge to play an active role in this very important and highly regarded programme. When some organisations see the word 'disability' they immediately have a set of filters and preconceptions which can cloud their judgement when considering disabled applicants for permanent positions. Here at Torridge we set out to recognise talent, which hopefully makes us a more enlightened and better employer for not only those with disabilities but all of our staff."

HR Manager, Sarah Ayres said, "This was more than a work experience initiative; Anna was of a very high standard, fitted in well with our HR Team, and has made a positive contribution to the team, delivering a valuable piece of work which helps take our HR service forward. Hosting our student has made me rethink how we operate in terms of being an employer for disabled candidates, both in terms of the opportunities we can offer as an employer and the benefits to the Council of attracting and retaining talent from diverse backgrounds. Taking part in the Change 100 programme was a win/win for Torridge and for Anna."

Student, Anna Wolf said, "Working at Torridge District Council has been a wonderful experience, and I won't soon forget everything I've learned from my internship here! Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and supportive of the ideas I have brought to the HR service. I'm incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity, and am happy to be an example of what people with disabilities have to offer!"

11 September 2017