Who are we?
Work Helpline UK provides comprehensive information, advice, training and consultancy services so that disabled people and people with long term health conditions, employers and advisors can make informed decisions about impairment related work issues. Our services fulfill the real need that individuals and businesses have to gain appropriate support and accessible plain English information that allows them to address the barriers they may face to full workplace inclusion. Indeed, through our email, Skype and telephone answerphone service, we provide support to individuals and employers at every stage of recruitment and in a wide variety of work situations. We also work with other organisations to provide information about issues relating to education and training, as well as in the transition from education to employment.
What support do we provide?
In terms of individuals, our service standards ensure that all disabled people and people with long term health conditions can seek advice and support from another disabled person with lived experience of the working world. We feel this is very important as we have learnt that disabled people have a particular, specific, and real need to receive information from other disabled people about issues relating to education, employment and training. Examples of the issues that we cover include:
- guidance on effective job hunting;
- advice on barriers or difficulties encountered whilst at work, in training or in education;
- support with setting up in business or continuing in business with an impairment;
- advice on benefit related issues; and
- information about approaching statutory bodies (e.g. Access to Work), educational or training establishments and employers when difficulties arise.
In terms of businesses and other organisations, examples of issues we cover include:
- guidance on effective and accessible recruitment;
- guidance on the retention of existing employees who may develop an impairment;
- support to manage and implement reasonable adjustments;
- support to manage workplace stress and staff mental health and wellbeing;
- advice about approaching and supporting employees to approach Access to Work; and
- information and training on Disability Equality and how to make your organisation disability smart.
Work Helpline UK is a joint initiative between the Association of Disabled Professionals and START Ability Services.
Initially our work advice service focused on the needs of professionals and those with managerial experience. However, over the years, we have widened our work to include disabled people and people with long term health conditions who want to become entrepreneurs, as well as to include the provision of advice and support on any job role and for any impairment related barrier.
There’s a little more about our history below:
The Association of Disabled Professionals (ADP) was established in 1971 to provide support to disabled people in professional and managerial positions, as there was very little support available for them at the time.
The ADP was formed to remedy this situation and to provide a forum for disabled people to share both their problems and their experiences of successful personal development and valued work, as well as to help create conditions for other disabled people to realise their full potential.
Since that time, the vast number of members and clients we have supported has proved that disabled people can and do succeed in almost every career – in medicine, engineering, the law, the church, the Civil Service, politics, commerce, education, the sciences and the arts and health and social services, to name but a few.
In 2001, ADP established the Disabled Entrepreneurs’ Network (DEN) to provide work related mentoring and information services for self-employed disabled people and those setting up and running their own small businesses.
DEN acts as a signpost service for accessible and appropriate training and development to disabled entrepreneurs and assists in looking at strategic issues around disability, small business management and self-employment.
Finally, the ADP seeks to ensure that legislation takes full account of the needs and aspirations of disabled people. We believe that our work in Parliament has been one of the key factors that has helped us to be successful in promoting the rights of all disabled people to experience choice and inclusion, regardless of their impairment.
START Ability Services provides bespoke equality training and monitoring services for a wide variety of organisations. We have been engaging audiences from diverse backgrounds for over 20 years and provide common sense, practical advice and support to enable organisations to remove any barriers to the participation of disabled people.
To ensure the highest standards in our service, all of our highly qualified and experienced staff undertake continuing professional development, including our Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and HCPC registered Counselling Psychologist.
Due to our extensive knowledge base and understanding of the complexities of health and social care settings and processes, we have supported the integration of numerous health and social care organisations using the principles of co-production to facilitate positive change.
Additionally, as we are an organisation led by experienced “real life” researchers, we have also carried out research on issues relating to the employment and self employment of disabled people, producing reports that are accessible to a wide variety of audiences (including in policy documentation and Easy Read formats for people with learning difficulties).
The final aspect of our work focuses specifically on the impact of mental health difficulties. To this end, we are able to offer a number of therapeutic and change management services to both individuals and organisations. This is of particular importance in our service, as it allows us to support individuals and organisations to develop strategies to promote and maintain emotional wellbeing and mental health.