Equal opportunities for young people with Special Needs
Posted: 23/10/15 by Noah Kellaghan McGurk
Hello, My son Noah has applied for x2 apprenticeships (different locations) with Starbucks, where he recently completed a workshop through 'The Challenge'. He is immensely capable but is not academic due to having a speech & language disorder; there was nowhere on the application to state this. Firstly; should one say or not? Are they (large corporations such as Starbucks) obliged to give my son equal consideration over fully able/young people who don't have difficulties? One hears the talk about a zero intolerance to prejudice, but from our experience so far it doesn't strike me as being true in reality. My son just needs a break. He has completed a years work experience in a restaurant kitchen & is able to follow instructions but just needs to be given a chance. We have already applied for several jobs and got nowhere so far, so feeling somewhat despondent - but not beaten I must add! Sarah Kellaghan (mum of Noah)
Sorry to hear that Noah is having problems. This is sadly not uncommon. Having your support and encouragement is a big plus!
"Are they (large corporations such as Starbucks) obliged to give my son equal consideration over fully able/young people who don't have difficulties?"
Yes, they are. It is against the law to discriminate on grounds of disability unless the employer cannot make reasonable adjustments to the role. I'm surprised that Starbucks don't ask about disability on their form. Many large employers are signed up to a voluntary code of practice called the Two Ticks (Positive about disabled people) scheme. They use the Two Ticks symbol on adverts to show that they encourage applications from disabled people. This is particularly the case (by the way) with public sector employers such as local authorities etc.
It might be worth having a conversation about Noah's situation with a local training provider. If they are sympathetic to his plight they may be able to act as a facilitator as they have working links with many local employers. If you let me know where you live I can suggest some for you to contact.
Often the local FE college is a training provider for apprenticeships, by the way.
It might also be useful to arrange for Noah to meet with a specialist SEN careers adviser. They tend to be based within the local council so a visit to their web site should turn up their contact details.
Another potentially useful contact is the disability employment adviser based at your local Job Centre Plus office. They can advise on all aspects including special schemes, legal aspects etc.
Also, you might find it useful to link up with the people at Afasic for advice and support including a parent's forum.
- Posted: 27/10/15