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21 June 2006 PR 06/75

Disabled people needed for employment study

Disabled people who are willing to talk about their experiences of job-hunting and the workplace are needed to take part in a Loughborough University study.

Researchers at Loughborough have already spoken to unemployed disabled people about the problems they have faced finding work.

Now they want to talk to working people with disabilities about the resources they used to get a job – and how user-friendly they consider their workplace.

At the end of the project, researcher Nadine Geddes hopes to come up with a new on-line system that will help disabled people to find work more easily.

She said: “The whole issue is very topical at the moment because of the Government’s determination to reduce the number of people on Incapacity Benefit. What I have discovered so far is that people with disabilities find it very hard to get the help and information they need to land a job.

“I would like to speak to employed people with disabilities who can give me some insight into who they spoke to when looking for a job; who helped them out; if they had to find information themselves or if it was given to them. I would also like to know if they feel their working environment caters for their needs.”

Recent Government figures show that 2.7 million people in the UK are currently claiming Incapacity Benefit at an annual cost of £12.5 billion – but that nine out of 10 hope to get back into work.

However, statistics also reveal that, after two years on Incapacity Benefit, claimants are more likely to retire or die than find another job.

This is a trend that Ms Geddes is hoping to influence.

She added: “Knowing that disabled people have difficulties finding a job is not enough. We need to know what these difficulties are and then do something about them. That is the long-term aim of this study.”

Working people with disabilities who volunteer to help with the study will be asked to take part in a 40-minute telephone interview.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact Nadine Geddes on 01509 226903 or email her at N.L.Geddes@lboro.ac.uk

ENDS

For further information contact:

Notes to editors

Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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