Disabled People Struggle To Find Work

20 May 2014, 16:39 | Updated: 20 May 2014, 16:43

225,000 working age people in Wales are disabled and unemployed.

New figures show businesses in Wales employ fewer disabled people than any other part of the UK.

Stephen Rees worked at the Remploy factory in Porth in the Rhondda for 25 years before it closed in 2012.

He told Heart he had difficulties finding alternative work: "I sent off CV's, covering letters and made numerous phonecalls to loads of people who were employing. I went to the interviews and at the last minute they would cancel.

He's now working for company RedRock who scan documents for businesses. He says it was a more positive experience: "They invited me for an interview. They saw me as a person - not a disabled person - which was excellent."

A conference in Cardiff aims to show companies what support there is out there for them to take on a disabled worker.

The campaign is being backed by Falklands veteran Simon Weston.

He told Heart: "We have to see businesses being more prepared to be more open and not to think that disabled people are going to be an issue or a problem.

"They all have to learn a lot more about the disabled world.

"What's wrong with someone in a wheelchair working at a computer-based company. They're sitting down on a computer at home, they're sitting down operating a keyboard with an interactive tv.

"At the end of the day that's all they'd be doing. There's nothing different."

Welsh company Admiral is among the firms encouraging businesses to look for people who are right for the job - regardless of whether they may have a disability.

The Access to Work scheme from the UK government offers support as well as financial help towards any adaptions that may need to be made.