The Forgotten Talent Pool

The greatest talent pool of potential in this country lies within disabled people. A bold statement, but I adamantly believe it to be true.

And when it comes to understanding the disabled talent pool, I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about because I’m part of it.

I’ve been lucky, really lucky. I’ve had the opportunity to have had a great career at a senior level in HR and Learning & Development. I’ve worked for leading organisations and achieved some really world class results.

But, what I’ve been most fortunate to be part of is realising the potential within people. I’ve recruited over 2,500 employees and developed many more. I’ve seen people work their way up from entry level to directors. I’ve written L&D interventions that have provided a framework for people to learn, grow and develop to the benefit of themselves, the organsiation and the customer.

Everything I’ve been involved with has supported the bottom line with a tangible return on investment.

And I’ve bored everyone with my mantra:

“People are people and potential is potential”

So imagine my surprise when 12 years ago I collapsed with brain damage. When I found myself housebound for over 2 years, having to learn to stand, walk and talk again. When I lost everything and ended up homeless. That wasn’t part of the plan.

But the solution was easy, get myself back and up and running and into work.

Except it wasn’t because I was now disabled and that meant a barrier had suddenly appeared. I knew all about the support that was available for disabled people getting back to work and that many organisations were proud of their diversity polices and strategy, as I was.

But I found that in my case the reality was that I was no longer employable.

Why? Because I’d ticked a box.

So what did I do? I started Delsion, a People & Development consultancy. We support around HR, Learning & Development and Diversity & Inclusion.

We made Swansea the first Disability Confident city in the UK as recognised by the Westminster Government. We work with organisations including the Welsh Government and we’re Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative winners (RIDI) which puts us in very esteemed company.

We help organsiations the devise strategies, policies, processes, measurements and networks to support disabled talent.

We allow businesses to build the business case and provide training at all levels through our KEE approach of Knowledge, Empathy and Engagement.

And we can support an organisations Disability Confident journey, including accreditation to the exceptional standard of Disability Confident Leader.

But its only the start, we want to make Wales the leader for disabled employability, to lead the way and for that we need the help of the HR community among others.

It’s about meaningful change, realising potential and making an aspirational impact.

I was never unemployable, I was just perceived that way and the opportunity is to change that perception.

In Wales there are 26,000 Job Seekers but over 162,000 people on Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefits.

Within that number are people that struggle to find employment. People with the skills and experience, exhibit the competencies and behaviours that are a perfect fit for the opportunities that are out there.

So I ask; help me, join me. Lets make our approach to inclusion drive the diversity that helps Wales, businesses and individuals truly be all they can be.

Because remember;

“People are people and talent is talent”

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Written by - Julian John | Managing Director, Delsion Ltd

Date - 14/06/2017