Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Counselling and Disability Service

Open Doors Guide to Employment

Student in accommodation


Finding a job can be challenging, but if you also have a disability, mental health condition or specific learning difference (such as dyslexia) you will have additional considerations at all stages of the recruitment process and into employment.

However, having a disability doesn't have to work against you when applying for a job. Your personal experiences will be unique, making you stand out from the crowd, and by employing a disabled graduate employers are creating a welcoming and diverse environment, which will be a positive place for all employees to work.

These pages offers basic advice to you as a disabled person on a number of issues which you might need to consider when entering the world of work. It is best used in conjunction with the range of leaflets produced by the Careers and Employability Centre covering areas such as job hunting, writing CVs and covering letters, and gaining experience. Please also note that throughout this guide, the term ‘disabled person’ is used to cover the broadest definition of disability. As such it should be taken to include those who have a physical or sensory impairment, long term health condition, mental health issue, autistic spectrum condition, or specific learning difference (such as dyslexia).


The Law

The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as: 

‘A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the ability to perform normal day-to-day activities.’

Under the Equality Act 2010 disabled people have legal protection within their workplace. The act aims to protect disabled individuals from being discriminated against, provides them with certain rights as disabled employees, and requires employers to address your needs as a disabled person.

The Equality Act 2010 covers a range of employment areas including:

  • application forms
  • interview arrangements
  • aptitude or proficiency tests
  • job offers
  • terms of employment, including pay
  • promotion, transfer and training opportunities
  • dismissal or redundancy
  • discipline and grievances

Responsibilities employers have under the Equality Act include:

  • Employers may not ask applicants questions relating to their health prior to an offer being made.
  • Employers must not discriminate against employees on the grounds of their disability or for a disability-related reason, or treat them less favourably due to their disability.
  • Employers must not discriminate against people by association with a disabled person (i.e. a carer or support worker).
  • Employers must consider requests for reasonable adjustments and must be able to justify not making a requested adjustment, demonstrating why they do not feel this is reasonable. Reasonable adjustments might include flexible working hours or provision of specialist equipment and making arrangements during the assessment and interview process.  For example a dyslexic candidate may receive additional time to complete an assessment test in much the same way that they would for examinations.


In order to fulfil their duty to you as a disabled person your employer needs know about your disability, they are not legally obliged to put reasonable adjustments in place if they don't know they are needed.  However, there is no legal obligation on you to disclose your disability and the decision as to whether to do so when applying for a graduate position, placement or internship is an individual one and will depend on a number of factors.

To disclose is a personal choice which needs to be considered carefully, and you may wish to consider the following when making this decision.

Don’t disclose if you feel:

  • You may be discriminated against.
  • You may be labelled within the workplace.
  • Your disability is not relevant to your ability to do the job and hence your application.
  • The job market is too competitive and disclosing your disability may make you appear less employable than the next applicant. 

Disclose for the following reasons:

  • It will help ensure you receive the necessary support to allow you to perform your best during the application process.
  • A Two Ticks employer will guarantee you an interview if you also meet the essential criteria for the job (see information about the Two Ticks Scheme).
  • You will be protected by the Law. Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are obliged to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ which can only be made if you disclose your disability.
  • If your disability is well supported at work, it is more likely that a good work performance will be maintained, enabling you to progress in your career.
  • You may be eligible for funding through the Access to Work initiative to cover extra costs at work, such as specialist equipment (see information about Access to Work).
  • It may help advertise the positive achievements you have acquired through your disability, and highlight the particular strengths you could bring to the workplace such as tolerance and diversity.

The decision about when to disclose is also a personal one. A good employer will give plenty of opportunity to disclose:

  • on the application form
  • during the interview(s)
  • during pre-employment preparation and induction
  • once you have started your job

Although you are not legally obliged to disclose at any of these stages remember you will not be legally covered if your employer doesn’t know about your needs and hasn’t made reasonable adjustments to address them. 

Further information about disclosure if you are dyslexic or have mental health issues can be found in our separate guides available from the Disability Office and Careers and Employability Centre.

If you wish to discuss your decision to disclose in more detail please contact the Careers and Employability Centre to talk to a Careers Adviser.


The Two Ticks Scheme

The Two Ticks symbol is awarded by Jobcentre Plus to recognise employers who have agreed to meet five commitments regarding the recruitment, employment, retention, and career development of disabled people.

It allows employers to demonstrate a supportive and positive attitude towards disabled people in the workplace. Under the scheme, if you declare a disability and you meet the essential criteria expected for the role you will be guaranteed an interview.

The five commitments employers must follow on the scheme are:

1. To interview all who meet the essential criteria at a minimum level.

2. To discuss how the abilities of disabled people can be developed and used.

3. To ensure efforts are made to keep a disabled person in their role once they are employed.

4. To ensure other employees are made aware of disability issues and create understanding in the workplace.

5. To review commitments annually, assessing achievements over the year and identifying further improvements. 

Employers who are signed up to the scheme are allowed to advertise with the Two Ticks symbol to show disabled people that they are positive about their abilities. It also shows existing employees that their contribution is valued and should they become disabled they will be fairly treated.

Further information about Two Ticks can be found here



Access to Work

Access to Work is a Government scheme which provides practical help to overcome the barriers that disabled people might experience in the workplace. 

It comes in the form of a grant which you and your employer can apply for and is provided if your disability prevents you from doing parts of your job, or results in work related costs which are beyond a ‘reasonable adjustment’. The grant aims to ensure employees are able to work effectively by paying towards support such as:

  • specialist equipment
  • a support worker
  • travel to work
  • awareness training

There is no set amount for an Access to Work grant, how much you get depends on your individual circumstances, however it is only available in England, Wales and Scotland.

To apply you should talk to your Human Resources (HR) department, or you can contact Access to Work directly.

More information about the scheme can be found here https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview.

Occupational Health

Occupational Health (OH) is about your health and safety at work, regardless of whether you are disabled or not. 

OH is a confidential service provided by qualified health professionals in the workplace whose job it is to examine how work could affect your health and vice versa. Thus, if an individual has a health problem that may affect their ability to work, or if work is affecting an individual’s health, the OH service in the workplace may be asked to get involved to help develop practical solutions to overcome the difficulties the employee might be facing.

OH services can be accessed through the HR department in your organisation and is overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Although you may be reluctant to disclose your disability to your employer, it may be useful to do so to OH to comply with health and safety as your disability may affect the way you do your job, therefore adjustments may need to be made to help you do your job safely and effectively.

OH is not a replacement for any Primary Care NHS services and does not provide a treatment service, although in some cases they may work with these services.

Further information on OH is available here http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ohindex.htm.

Sources of Further Information

Staff in the Careers and Employability Centre, the Disability Office and the Mental Health Support Team are able to discuss the issues raised in these sections with you. 

Below are some links to organisations and resources which give further information on the issues which affect disabled applicants and employees.

A general overview of disabilities and employment:


Information for disabled people looking and applying for jobs.



Sites for graduate careers with career advice, jobs and work experience and postgraduate study.


Employ-ability work with disabled students and graduates by providing support, advice and guidance when searching for a job. They provide information on certain aspects of applying for a job, and also provide internships and graduate recruitment programmes.


The Shaw Trust is a national charity supporting disabled people who are currently working or looking for a job. 


Great with Disability is a national organisation which promotes the benefits of being open about disability in employment.  Their site has a tool kit to support the application process, as well as vacancies for disabled people.


Advice on your rights, support and case studies for disabled people looking to go into a career.



This website promotes a positive approach towards disabled people, business and employment. It offers support, advice and factsheets.  


Job Cente guide to claiming DLA.

Disclosure: The following links provide information on when and how to disclose a disability and the pros and cons of doing do.



Recruitment Processes: The following websites include examples of possible recruitment tests, as well as information on how to tackle these.




Access to Work: This is a link to a PDF file which provides information about the government scheme Access to Work.


Occupational Health: Information on the role of the Health and Safety Executive within the workplace.



The Law: The following websites include information on the Equality Act 2010. 





Mental Health: The following links are produced specifically for those with mental health conditions, and give employment information on aspects such as disclosure and reasonable adjustments.





Dyslexia: The following websites are specific to Dyslexia, with advice on dyslexia in the workplace.



Other useful websites specific to disability and employment:










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Contact us

‌Disability Office

01509 222770

Counselling Service

01509 222148

Mental Health Team

01509 228338

Assessment Centre

02476 426146


A confidential support, advice and information service for any student experiencing harassment and /or bullying or discriminatory treatment.

T: 01509 222769

Email  Confide.Student@lboro.ac.uk



Bridgeman Building (No 53 on Campus Map.  The number of blue badge parking bays is shown in the box next to the wheelchair symbol)

Epinal Way

Loughborough,  LE11 3TU