The Minister for Disabled People Penny Mordaunt MP has today announced that Channel 4 is signing up to the Government’s Disability Confident scheme.
The Minister made the announcement in Rio where she has been visiting the Paralympics and local disability charities.
The Disability Confident scheme, which aims to improve work opportunities for disabled people, encourages employers to recruit and retain disabled people in their workforce.
Disability Confident employers are those who have identified and removed barriers in the recruitment of disabled people, tapped into the support available, and successfully offered an opportunity to or hired local disabled job seekers.
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, said: “The Paralympics have a unique power to inspire us all and transform the way we see disabled people - far beyond the realms of elite sports.
“I am determined to use the momentum created by the Games to renew our focus on tackling discrimination, improving opportunities and highlighting the qualities, skills and talents of disabled people.
“There are almost 500,000 more disabled people working compared with the same time in 2013: but there is still more to do. That’s why we’re making it easier for disabled people to get the support they need to do their job through Access to Work and we’re asking employers to take steps to be Disability Confident.
“Channel 4 is already leading the way in showing disabled people as an asset to their business and I’m delighted they have signed up to be a Disability Confident employer. I have no doubt that this, along with their inspirational coverage of the Paralympics will encourage hundreds more businesses to see disabled people for the qualities they can bring as employees.”
Channel 4’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Dan Brooke, who is the Board’s Diversity Champion said: “We’re proud to be joining the Disability Confident scheme because it chimes with everything we stand for.
“We want to be an employer where disabled people feel welcome, are treated as equals and given the right support to break into and further their careers in the broadcast industry.”
Channel 4 is currently in the process of becoming a level two Disability Confident Employer which entails a self-assessment that enables the employer to demonstrate the action that they are taking to recruit and retain disabled people.
Channel 4 is firmly committed to improving diversity within the broadcast industry and announced that 2016 is its Year of Disability. Its commitments include – an undertaking to double the number of disabled contributors in 20 of its biggest shows; ring-fencing 50 per cent of all apprenticeships and 30 per cent of all work placements for disabled people; and progressing the careers of 20 disabled people already in the industry.
The broadcaster also made a major commitment to introducing new off-screen talent into the industry through its Rio Production Training Scheme.
Twenty-four disabled trainees joined the scheme and 19 who successfully completed the training are currently working on Rio content. They secured roles such as production coordinators, researchers and technical assistants working at companies such as Sunset+Vine, IMG, Princess, Open Mike, Deltatre, MOOV, Timeline and Boomerang – and with other broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky.
In addition, six more experienced mid-level disabled members will also be working on Rio content in more senior roles with Sunset+Vine, Open Mike and 4Creative.
And Channel 4 has 21 disabled presenters working on its Paralympics coverage in Rio, representing nearly 60 per cent of its on-screen talent.
Channel 4 was widely praised for its Bafta-award winning coverage of the London 2012 Raralympics and was widely credited with helping shift public perceptions around disability. And it has continued in this vein for the 2016 Rio Paralympics with its stunning follow up to the award winning Meet The Superhumans trailer, We’re The Superhumans.
Notes to Editors
According to Government statistics around 17% of working age people in the UK have a disability. Latest figures show that employment prospects for disabled people are improving. There are now more than 3.3 million disabled people in employment, up 365,000 over the past two years.
The three tiers of Disability Confident are -
Level 1 - Disability Confident Committed: aimed at encouraging employers varying in size and sector to start the journey to becoming Disability Confident;
Level 2 – Disability Confident Employer: a self-assessment that enables the employer to demonstrate the action that they are taking to recruit and retain disabled people;
Level 3 – Disability Confident Leader: supports a ‘Business to Business’ learning and leadership approach; encouraging employers share best practice and offer support to other employers on the Disability Confident journey.