Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace 2018: programme

Programme for the 2018 Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace, including the agenda and speaker biographies.

1. Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace

Welcome to the Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace, hosted by the Scottish Government and our partners. We hope that you will enjoy today’s discussion, breakout sessions and speeches. More than that, we hope that you, as employers, will leave at the end of the day ready to realise the opportunities which await you, by tapping into the wealth of talent, skills and motivation that exists across Scotland’s disabled communities.

We have worked hard, alongside our partners: Inclusion Scotland, Glasgow Disability Alliance, Business in the Community Scotland, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities to create a day which is geared towards helping you employ disabled people, or if you are already an employer of disabled people, consider broadening your workforce further.

To that end, the congress is broken down into five broad themes:

  • Inspire;
  • Hire;
  • Grow;
  • Celebrate; and
  • Commit.

The Chair of today’s conference is Graeme Whippy, MBE, and key participants includes the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the Minister for Social Security, Jeane Freeman MSP, and the Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP. Bringing an international perspective we are delighted that the conference will also be addressed by Helga Stevens MEP, Co-Chair of the European Parliament’s Disability Intergroup. In addition, we will have a number of breakout sessions aimed towards giving you the opportunity to discuss, debate and air your views on hiring, supporting and retaining disabled employees. Whether you have questions regarding support provided by the Department for Work and Pensions through its Access to Work programme or wish to find out more from fellow employers on how to create an inclusive atmosphere to get the best from your employees, we will have a breakout session for you.

It’s important to stress that improving the rate of disability employment matters to all of us. Today, one in five Scots are disabled. You are likely to have a family member or friend, who despite their talents cannot find their way into the labour market to contribute to Scottish society to their fullest. This is a grievous loss, not only for those individuals, but for employers themselves – who are missing out on the dynamism, drive and ambition of Scotland’s disabled people.

Finally, we hope that you enjoy the day and come out of it more confident in your ability to hire disabled people thereby improving your company’s inclusivity and its competitive edge.


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