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Equality and disability

Accessing the Professional Development Centre and our services

Brunel University has a vibrant and diverse population of staff and students and the PDC offers a wide variety of services and resources to support students in achieving their career aspirations.

  • The PDC is wheelchair accessible (use the lift through the first door on your left as you enter the Bannerman Centre). There is always someone at the Front Desk who can answer your questions or refer you to a Careers Consultant.
  • We have a photocopier which can enlarge text and can provide documents in alternative formats. Please ask if you wish to have materials copied or need any modifications at all. 
  • Careers interviews last 30 minutes, but please let us know if you will require extra time. If you require an auxiliary aid (e.g. sign language interpreter), do please let us know well in advance, so that this can be arranged.

We hope that you will find the information given here useful, but would encourage you to arrange an appointment to come and meet us in person for additional support, and register with the Disability and Dyslexia Service on campus.

Age

Age is one of the characteristics that are protected by the Equality Act 2010. Mature students are generally defined as being over the age of 21 years who didn’t go to university after leaving college or school.

They assisted me greatly when I came to study as a mature student. When I thought opportunities might be limited and unavailable to me the careers consultants instilled confidence in me and encouraged me to apply. The PDC has earned the respect of both students and academic staff alike due to their knowledge, guidance, approachability and assisting students past and present.

Age discrimination legislation 

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of age.

Advice and information links

Market yourself to employers

In your favour
  • You’re likely to have more life experiences to draw on than younger candidates.
  • You have experienced the workplace and are more ‘career ready’. Employers will appreciate your work attitude.
  • Employers will value competencies, e.g. adaptability, commercial awareness, motivation, oral/written communication and passion/enthusiasm, which younger graduates do not always possess.
  • You will have greater confidence and maturity, and be more focused on your career.
Get experience

You may be applying for a different job with your current employer or looking at graduate roles with other recruiters in the same industry. However if you wish to change your career you will need to find relevant and recent experience in your intended industry. 

Top tips
  • Keep your CV to two pages: if necessary summarise similar jobs or familial/other activities – e.g. caring for children. Explain any gaps in your career history though.
  • Leave out personal information, e.g. date of birth/age, that doesn’t affect your ability to do the job unless it’s required on an application form
  • Focus on what you’ve got to offer, not on your age. Don’t undervalue your skills and experience! 
  • Be creative and use positive language when considering your skills:
  • Think about activities outside the home: Evening classes, language skills, activities at your children’s school.
  • Raising a family involves time management, multitasking, budgeting skills.

Look at the CVs and Applications section for more information, and make an appointment to talk to a Careers Consultant for help with job search, CV review, interview preparation etc.

Job search and resources

A greater number of mature Brunel leavers in 2016 were working in a graduate professional role than under-23/23-29 year old leavers, and were also earning a higher salary:

Under 23

£23,520

1182

23 to 29

£27,563

55

30+

£28,227

39

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), 2015-16

Public sector employers – education, health and social work industries - tend to have a positive attitude towards mature graduates as they have the necessary competencies and experience but don’t limit your job search. View video case studies on the UCAS website.

age positive

  • Look out for the Age Positive logo displayed by any organisation that supports and practices the points covered by the DWP ‘Employing older workers’ guide.
  • Diversity Jobs Age positive jobs and career opportunities with inclusive employers.
  • ENEI The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion promote equality and inclusion in the workplace. The membership list gives possible employers.
  • Fortyplus People Recruitment agency focusing on opportunities for the over 40s in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. There is the option to upload a CV.
  • TAEN The Age Employment Network works to promote an effective labour market that serves the needs of people in mid and later life, employers and the economy. 50+ Works: A Guide for Older Jobseekers (2015) covers the barriers older jobseekers face, the job market and the techniques to best navigate it.
  • TARGETjobs Age: Diversity Matters article - Finding age-positive employersDisclosing your age; and Your rights around ageism.
  • The Diversity Group promotes equal opportunities to people from every kind of minority background or lifestyle, including race, gender, disability, age, faith and sexual orientation. The site features the TDG  jobsite and Inclusive Top 40 UK Employers list.

 

Disability

 

Researching disability positive employers

The Business Disability Forum works to remove the barriers between public and private organisations and disabled people. Partner organisations have committed to becoming a disability-smart business. View a list of partner organisations. Their Disability-smart Award recognises companies that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to employing, working with and doing business with disabled people.

Look out for the Disability Confident symbol (which has replaced the ‘two ticks’ scheme). The government scheme helps employers to make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. Organisations who display the Disability Confident symbol on job advertisements actively encourage applications from disabled people. 
disability confident employer

 

Find out more and search for employers who have signed up to the scheme. 

The Mindful Employer website lists UK organisations who have signed up to a Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental Health. 

All employers are bound by the Equality Act 2010, which aims to improve equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants. The Act also places an obligation on employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the workplace to meet your needs. It can be advisable to check an employer’s Equal Opportunities policy statements if they do not display the Disability Confident symbol.

Internships

WPSIS - Brunel University London runs the Widening Participation Summer Internship Scheme for L1 undergraduate students. Students with a disability are invited to apply for the scheme during the autumn term of their first year.

Access to Work scheme provides practical advice and support to help disabled people overcome work-related obstacles. It can provide financial support to cover extra employment costs such as specialist equipment, support workers or travel to work. 

Disclosure

There is no legal requirement for you to disclose your disability and it is entirely your choice whether you do so or not. It can be a difficult decision to make so it is important to consider the pros and cons carefully. We would encourage you to consider the following advantages of disclosing a disability.

  • The employer can provide adjustments at interview/assessment centres and during psychometric testing sessions.
  • The employer can be better prepared for your interview and not ask you any irrelevant or inappropriate questions.
  • You are creating the opportunity to build a relationship of mutual trust.
  • You can raise your disability in a positive manner, taking advantage of the opportunity to highlight the strengths you have developed as a result of living with your disability.
  • You can provide a context for your academic results if you feel that they do not reflect your ability.
  • Remember that many employers are committed to increasing opportunities for disabled people (check for the Disability Confident symbol).
  • It reduces the risk of work related problems arising once you have started your role.

If you do decide to disclose you will be protected against discrimination or unfair treatment by the Equality Act 2010.

When to disclose

Again, this is your decision and might depend on the nature of your disability, but you can disclose:

  • At application stage
  • Prior to the interview
  • During the interview
  • After you have been offered the position

If you are considering disclosing your disability but are feeling unsure about it make an appointment to see your Placement Adviser or Careers Consultant to discuss it in more detail

Sources for jobs and advice links

  • AbilityNet provides a range of high quality paid for and free services that help disabled people succeed at work, at home and in education
  • Association of Disabled Professionals (ADP) 24 hour helpline offering employment advice, and information and forum/peer support for disabled people 
  • BBC Extend Hub Disability recruitment portal
  • Bridge to Work A new initiative due to launch in September 2017 - it will support disabled people aged 16-30 into paid employment and sustain the work placement
  • Change 100 The Leonard Cheshire Disability brings together the UK’s top employers and talented disabled students and graduates to offer three months of paid work experience
  • Civil Service Summer Diversity Internship Programme
  • City Disabilities Aims to make the City a fairer, more human place for people with disabilities to pursue a career. Supports students and professionals in London who have disabilities or long term medical conditions. Offers a free mentoring service
  • CRCC Asia British Council Scholarship Fully funded scholarship with the British Council Shanghai specifically for students with a disability
  • Disabilityjobsite Resources, networks and job vacancies
  • Disability Rights UK Provide advice on a range of disability issues, including careers. Offer internships and voluntary work
  • Disabled Entrepreneurs Network Advice on setting up and running your own business
  • Disabled Workers Cooperative Database of job vacancies skills, services and products people with disabilities have to offer
  • Diversity Jobs Features jobs from employers who understand the value of building a diverse workforce
  • Elevation Networks Promote diversity, run networking events, list jobs, internships and volunteering vacancies
  • Exceptional Individuals Employment support for students/graduates with dyslexia
  • Evenbreak Job vacancies and advice
  • EY has an inclusive approach to recruitment and runs a variety of networks that include specific disabilities
  • EmployAbility Offers employment support and advice for students/ graduates with disabilities. Internships and graduate vacancies
  • Front Runner Three day accessible leadership development programme for disabled students
  • Milkround Advice on diversity issues in the workplace, job vacancies
  • My Plus Students Club Online resource dedicated to supporting disabled students and graduates as they pursue their chosen career path – blogs, interviews etc.
  • Pearson Internship Programme Paid project based internship for recent graduates with a disability
  • Prince’s Trust Support with starting your own business
  • Purple Specialist agency designed to match disabled people with an identified set of skills with employers with vacancies
  • Remploy Vacancy listings and employment search support
  • TARGETjobs Advice on searching for disability-positive employers and disclosure. Job vacancies
  • The Shaw Trust provides employment opportunities, training and support for people with all kinds of disabilities
  • Use My Ability Helps students with disabilities to develop their employability skills
  • VisABLE Promote mainstream professional opportunities for actors, presenters and models with disabilities
  • Whizz-Kidz Volunteering opportunities

Specific disabilities

Autism

  • National Autistic Society Offer support and information. Services directory and helpline. Prospects Employment Service supports employers in creating an inclusive workplace for employees with ASD
  • Specialisterne Creates jobs worldwide for people with autism

Deaf

Dyslexia/dyscalculia/dyspraxia

Epilepsy

Mental health

  • Bipolar Information leaflets on employment and employment support service. Volunteering opportunities
  • Mind Information and advice on mental health in the workplace
  • Rethink Employment and training services for people with severe mental illness

Spinal injuries

Stammering

Visual impairment

 

Gender

Gender is one of the characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010

These days most employers are progressive and promote equality of opportunity and the good news is that the gender pay gap is falling. There is however still a 9.4% pay gap between full-time male and female employees (Office for National Statistics, ONS, April 2016).

A report commissioned by the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) found that there are fewer women in executive positions than men. Women comprise 73% of the workforce in entry and junior level roles but female representation drops to 42% at senior management level and 32% at director level.

The reasons for these disparities are not clear cut, rather a range of factors that contribute, such as family responsibilities, outdated stereotypes/discrimination, the types of roles that attract women, confidence issues etc.

Throughout the year, organisations host programmes to encourage female students to gain insight into industries/roles that they might not otherwise have considered and to apply for them on graduation. Examples of some such schemes are:

Gender specific schemes/vacancies
  • Bright Network Female specific career events such as: Women in Leadership, Women in Technology, Engineering & Consulting
  • PwC – Women in Business
  • TARGETjobs runs a series of information and networking events throughout the year, some of which have a gender focus, such as: Future Female Engineers, Women in Consulting, IT’s not just for the boys!
  • Women in Brunel Engineering and Computing (WiBEC) programme supports female graduates and undergraduates to attain their full potential in industry. It consists of a bespoke mentoring scheme, personal professional development training and visits to industry
  • Women In Sport Organisation committed to improving and promoting opportunities for women in sport at every level
  • The Women’s Engineering Society runs events, projects and campaigns
Directories

Women's networking organisations

Accountancy, Banking, Finance and general Business networking groups

Creative sector, media, publishing and journalism networking groups

Law, Politics and Policing networking groups 

Sciences networking groups 

 

Further reading

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation is one of the characteristics that are protected by the Equality Act 2010.

Many organisations in the UK have detailed policies and practices setting out their commitment to equality. Large organisations often have LGBT staff groups such as our own staff and student groups at Brunel University London.  In recent years hundreds of employers, including prominent graduate recruiters, have signed up to be ‘Diversity Champions’ with Stonewall.

Remember that the laws in other countries may be different and so you should research the legislation of the country in which you wish to work.

It is up to you how much you choose to disclose about your personal life on your CV in your written applications or at interview. You may wish to discuss your particular situation in confidence with a careers consultant.

Here are some links that you might find useful

Race

Many employers in the UK value diversity for the richness it brings to their workforce. Some employers include a questionnaire on ethnic origin as part of their application form. This should play no part in the selection process but is included in order to enable employers to monitor the proportion of ethnic minority applicants and the success rate of their applications. These questionnaires have been approved by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and are usually a sign of an organisation that is serious about promoting equal opportunities. They are optional, though, so if you prefer not to complete this section there is no obligation on you to do so.

Employers /Job Search
  • ACFF African Caribbean Diversity mentoring opportunities in city – based and corporate firms
  • Civil Service Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP)
  • Elevation Networks Networking events, mentoring, internships, and volunteer opportunities for students and graduates from minority ethnic backgrounds, women, and those affected by disability, poverty or social and economic circumstance.
  • Ethnic Jobsite Jobs board and advice for ethnic minority candidates
  • Inclusive Employers Membership organisation for employers aiming to build an inclusive culture. The site includes a list of members.
  • Race for Opportunity is a campaign to encourage business to invest in the diversity of Britain's ethnic minority communities by creating new opportunities and initiatives. A number of major graduate recruiters are core members of this campaign including manufacturing and commercial organisations, government departments and agencies and local authorities.
  • Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London is a not-for-profit organisation that offers internships to undergraduate students from under-represented ethnic minority backgrounds in areas including investment banking, technology, engineering, corporate law as well as the Civil Service.
  • TARGETjobs Events City Law for Ethnic Minorities annual event.
  • UP - Uncovering Prospects Professional Services and Banking and Finance internship event for black or Afro-Caribbean students.
  • Windsor Fellowship Internships and programmes for BAME students and graduates.

Handling racial discrimination

  • Although racial discrimination is of course illegal in the UK some people do face the challenge of being discriminated against in the work place. The Citizens Advice Bureau provides advice on race discrimination in the workplace as well as advice on employment, diversity, sex and, education, employment and civil rights issues, tax, debt and housing. See also Your rights around racism.

Useful links