Celebrating Diverse Talent: EmployAbility’s summer drinks reception, hosted by Google for our alumni, clients and partners, took place last month…

07 Aug 2014

On Thursday 17th July, EmployAbility were delighted to be joined by over 70 employers, disabled students and graduates, and other disability organisations for our inaugural ‘Celebrating Diverse Talent’ annual summer drinks party. Kindly hosted by Google at the Secret Garden of their London HQ, the audience heard from Matt Mitro, University Programs Manager at Google, Tab Ahmad, Founder and Managing Director of EmployAbility, and the real life stories of EmployAbility’s Role Models.

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In attendance, alongside EmployAbility’s talented interns and alumni, were representatives from a wide variety of organisations including Shell, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Channel 4, Merck, Barclays, Alpha Consulting and others.

Small networking

In between the networking and mingling, there were some short speeches. EmployAbility Founder and Managing Director, Tab Ahmad, said:

 “We have, for a few years now, reached the point where disability isn’t just the poorer cousin of other strands of diversity. It is becoming well recognised that providing adequate support, and proper inclusion policies and practices, enable people with dyslexia, visual impairment, on the autistic spectrum, ……., with a mental health disability and others, to properly access the workplace, and have the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities.… working with more than 30 different organisations across numerous industry sectors and having helped over 2000 candidates into employment, we look forward to another exciting year ahead, working and partnering with more organisations to help them become disability and diversity inclusive.”

“We have, for a few years now, reached the point where disability isn’t just the poorer cousin of other strands of diversity. It is becoming well recognised that providing adequate support, and proper inclusion policies and practices, enable people with dyslexia, visual impairment, on the autistic spectrum, ……., with a mental health disability and others, to properly access the workplace, and have the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities.… working with more than 30 different organisations across numerous industry sectors and having helped over 2000 candidates into employment, we look forward to another exciting year ahead, working and partnering with more organisations to help them become disability and diversity inclusive.”

The EmployAbility Role Models, all alumni or current graduates/interns, then wowed the audience with their inspiring stories – overcoming barriers to gain successful careers across all industries from global tech companies to investment banks. Will Thoms, now a manager in the Technology and Data division at Morgan Stanley, originally placed by EmployAbility as an intern at Goldman Sachs, had this to say:

“When talking about jobs and our careers we usually focus on the mechanics of the recruitment process…what matters more is the positive affect our career has on the rest of our life. My positions at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have given me the resources to enable me to get married, buy my first house and have a gorgeous little baby boy. Employability have always been there …without them I truly don't believe I'd be where I am today…Thanks Employability, you rock! P.S. this also means you're responsible for the sleepless nights and screaming. I'll be in touch to book child care with you shortly!”

“When talking about jobs and our careers we usually focus on the mechanics of the recruitment process…what matters more is the positive affect our career has on the rest of our life. My positions at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have given me the resources to enable me to get married, buy my first house and have a gorgeous little baby boy. Employability have always been there …without them I truly don’t believe I’d be where I am today…Thanks Employability, you rock! P.S. this also means you’re responsible for the sleepless nights and screaming. I’ll be in touch to book child care with you shortly!”

Following Will was the enthusiastic Sarah Tattersall who described the support she received to apply to the Google graduate programme after attending their TechAbility event.

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“…I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about applying for jobs but decided to contact EmployAbility anyway because they understand the needs of students with disabilities and treat us as equals …they really get to know the individuals applying through them and can see talent even when those people, such as myself, don’t necessarily see it at the time!”

With an internship at Amazon also under her belt, Sarah is sure to succeed in her new role as a Google Software Engineer.

The next speaker was Dan Smith, now on the graduate scheme with the FCA. He was originally supported by EmployAbility in his internship there in 2012, and then also undertook a placement with Rothschild. Dan described the support he received from EmployAbility:

“Having an organisation that assisted me with sorting out the disability side of applying for graduate positions gave me the confidence to perform on the job, …I didn’t have to give my disability focus,  as Employability had the expertise and experience to point me In the right direction  should I have faced any difficulty at work. The time that Employability members spent with me, strategizing on getting round obstacles, made me feel that they had invested in me and really wanted me to do well. I am currently moving into my second rotation on the FCA graduate program.”

“Having an organisation that assisted me with sorting out the disability side of applying for graduate positions gave me the confidence to perform on the job, …I didn’t have to give my disability focus,  as Employability had the expertise and experience to point me In the right direction  should I have faced any difficulty at work. The time that Employability members spent with me, strategizing on getting round obstacles, made me feel that they had invested in me and really wanted me to do well. I am currently moving into my second rotation on the FCA graduate program.”

Last of the alumni to speak was Sam Heather, interning this summer with Morgan Stanley in the Technology division, who thanked EmployAbility for their support in helping him also gain an internship with Google last summer as a Software Engineer, and this year at Morgan Stanley in their Technology Division.

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These speeches gave everyone a real insight into the business case for recruiting from a wide and diverse talent pool and the benefits gained by both individuals and organisations. Echoing this was Google’s Matt Mitro who closed the speeches, speaking about Google’s partnership with EmployAbility across EMEA, their commitment to diversity, and internal initiatives around this.

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EmployAbility would like to thank everyone who attended for a truly fantastic evening and for all the support for and from their candidates, to our employer partners, and especially to Google for hosting this memorable event. Here’s to a great evening, and more successes in the coming year(s)!

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EmployAbility is the not-for-profit organization that takes a collaborative and partner-based approach to connecting business with disabled talent. We work with disabled students and graduates in the transition from education to employment; and with businesses seeking to attract from a wider pool of talent and become more disability inclusive.

If you’d like to know more about EmployAbility and our work, please click here or get in touch on info@employ-ability.org.uk

To view EmployAbility’s current list of internships and vacancies for disabled students and graduates, please click here.

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The work undertaken by the EmployAbility team is essential to the diversification of the workplace when it comes to disability, and the understanding of the wide range of skills that such individuals can bring to the legal profession.

TC, BPP Law School, 2016

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