DFN Foundation to host disability debate at Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival

Posted on: 6th March 2020.

The DFN Foundation will host a panel debate at this year’s Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival, discussing how people with disabilities can offer UK business a hidden talent pool.

Chaired by the DFN Foundation’s David Forbes Nixon, the panel of experts will discuss disability in the workforce and the challenges and opportunities in creating a fairer society, from effective supported employment programme to board commitment and the right government support.

The panel will include Amit Patel, author of Kika and Me which describes the daily challenges he faces after his sudden blindness and the support from his guide dog Kika, as well as Paul Polman who is co-founder and chair of Imagine, an organisation that works with CEOs to drive sustainable and positive change.

Completing the line-up on Saturday May 8th will be Conservative peer Lord Shinkwin, who has launched a Workforce Information Bill aimed at breathing life into the Government’s commitment to helping people with disabilities reach their full potential.

Lord Shinkwin is calling on the Government to build on the success of mandatory gender pay gap reporting reforms and extend them to the other protected characteristics, including race, sexual orientation and disability, as part of its levelling up agenda.

Lord Shinkwin insists that only greater transparency and consistency in workforce data reporting will create the level playing field big businesses need and deserve to make sustainable progress and reap the benefits for the long term.

David Forbes-Nixon, Chairman of the DFN Charitable Foundation said: "The stark reality is out of every 100 young people with autism or a learning disability, only six have a permanent career job. Despite current legislation setting the pace for creating much-required increase in opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism, these statistics highlight that so much more work is needed if we are to bridge the employment gap and bring equality of opportunity for all.".

"We are very much looking forward to the discussion during this year’s Literary Festival and thank Lord Shinkwin, Amit and Paul for joining us as we debate a new enabling vision that will seize the agenda and drive tangible and sustainable change, bringing fair employment outcomes for young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism.".

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