Able to Excel - Supporting Disabled Graduates at the House of Lords

Terry Dray, Associate Director for Employability and Employer Engagement within the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE) was recently invited to meet with Lord Shinkwin at the House of Lords to discuss careers support for disabled graduates.

Along with colleagues from Imperial College and Liverpool John Moores University, Terry discussed how provision for disabled graduates could be improved, reflecting on Lord Shinkwin and George Relph’s discussion paper - ‘Able to Excel’ - published earlier this year.

In ‘Able to Excel’, Lord Shinkwin and George Relph make the case for enabling talented young disabled graduates to realise their potential and reach the top. The discussion paper identifies that despite the progress that has been made, there are many barriers that prevent disabled graduates from equally participating in the workforce.

In order to level the playing field for disabled graduates, ‘Able to Excel’ calls for improvement for disabled people in the following areas; Accessible housing, accessible transport, transparency reporting, equal access to goods and services, and a strategic and accountable oversight body.

Terry, who is also the Community Director for the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, is keen to develop career development support and employer engagement for disabled graduates. Terry commented:

"The discussion with Lord Shinkwin was inspiring. We agreed that data-informed practice is key and that universities and employers can do more to collaborate to deliver innovation.

“Lord Shinkwin was interested in Keele's innovative approach which has seen the introduction of new programmes to support disabed student employability including The Keele Connector Programme, My Career in the City, The Civic Internship Programme and internships for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He was also interested in Keele taking a more tailored approach and setting out plans for new innovative employability-related provision in the institution's Access and Participation Plan."

For more information about Able to Excel, visit the Demos website