Our Chief Executive, Lesslie Young looks at how businesses can help support someone with epilepsy to increase their chances of employment.
The country has been in a state of flux recently due to the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit.
There has been and continues to be uncertainty around employment, medication supplies, trade, travel, the economy and so much more.
Some people living with epilepsy and associated conditions live with a similar level of uncertainty, insecurity and lack of stability every day.
The introduction of the Equality Act in 2010 meant people with epilepsy and other disabilities would get a fairer and better chance to be interviewed and offered a job.
It means an employer cannot use epilepsy as a reason not to employ someone. Also, they should look at making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help you carry out your duties effectively and safely.
However, a report by The Institute for Employment Studies published in May 2019 found that people with epilepsy in the UK are more than twice as likely as those without the condition to be unemployed and 53% are classed as economically inactive.
Economically inactive refers to individuals who have not sought work in the last four weeks. Also, who are not available to start work in the next two weeks.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The majority of companies and businesses have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy.
However, for most this may involve volunteering at a charity to paint a room or help out at a collection. Although all charities are grateful for this input, there are other ways to offer support.
Instead the same variety of skills could help support someone with epilepsy to increase their chances of possible employment. Harnessing the expertise in that team would provide a unique and valuable learning that otherwise would not be accessible.
Not only would this help end uncertainty for people with epilepsy and help them increase their confidence. It would also bring them some much needed stability.
It should matter more that you have the right qualifications, skills and experience rather than your medical condition.
Deciding on how we approach any of these issues facing people with epilepsy will depend on people’s willingness to learn the impact epilepsy and associated conditions can have.
We provide a variety of training courses to help educate employees and businesses about epilepsy. Also, to help them understand the condition. If you would like to find out more, please email Nicola Milne at NMilne@epilepsyscotland.org.uk or call 0131 659 4730.