What does the site include?
- Employability skills: descriptions of generic employability skills embedded in Subject Employability Profiles are provided; these are coupled with advice on how to improve the skills.
- Breakdown of skills: each skill is broken down into underlying abilities.
- Disability: impairments that may impact on the different abilities are clearly indicated.
- Inclusive strategies: practical advice and guidance are provided to help those with limited ability to enhance the employability skill.
The website gives information about impairments that may relate to particular abilities, tells you which abilities underlie the different employability skills, describes the effects of limited ability on the individual skill, and gives suggestions for adjustments to practice that will enable the student to succeed in developing the skills.
This approach recognises that everyone has a profile of strengths and areas in need of improvement in relation to employability skills and, that by making adjustments to practice, even those with very limited/no specific ability can achieve competence in the skill . For example, someone with very little ability in terms of manual dexterity can succeed in the skill of written communication through being provided with the reasonable adjustment of using Speech Recognition software to produce written work.
Who is this site for?
It is targeted at three main groups of end users:
- teachers in higher education and anyone else in HE concerned with helping disabled undergraduates to develop and demonstrate their employability skills, competences and attributes;
- ALL students who are interested in developing their employability skills;
- employers; work based mentors.
Why do we use the term 'impairment' rather than 'disability'?
The World Health Organisation defines disability as any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. The Equality Act 2010 states that a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a long term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Physical or mental impairment includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing.
Medical Model of disability
The Medical Model of disability reinforces the idea that the problems that people face are a direct result of their own poor health or impairment. This model focuses on medical terminology and diagnosis. It adopts a labeling approach that sees the disabled person as in need of ‘fixing’ or as a problem to be ‘cured’. It is a model that can perpetuate stereotypes and create a cycle of exclusion and/or dependency that may be difficult to break. The charity or ‘tragedy’ model of disability also has negative connotations; this is based on pity and disempowerment and stereotypes the disabled person as brave, tragic or special, rather than as someone who is capable of determining their own life choices.
Social Model of disability
According to the Social Model, disability is a social state and not a medical condition.The Social Model of disability challenges the medical profession’s definition; it was classified by a group of disabled people. It identifies disability as a social construct and therefore as a social issue that requires changes to the social, educational, working practices and to physical environments. It identifies prejudice as the creator of disabling barriers that prevent participation by disabled people.
Language and disability
There is often confusion about the ‘correct’ terminology in relation to disability. Some argue the case for ‘putting the person first’ by saying ‘people with disabilities’, but those who adopt the Social Model of disability use definitions which recognise the fact that people have impairments, they do not have disabilities.
For information about disability etiquette, please visit one of our other web resources SCIPS.
What if I have more than one impairment?
The focus of this website is on the abilities that underpin the employability skills rather than on the limiting effect of the impairment itself. If you have more than one impairment, think about the abilities that are affected by these, and then seek out those pages which provide information on the effects of limited ability on the particular skill, for example, ’empathy’ (ability) and ‘team work’ (skill).
Do I need to have specialist knowledge about disability to use the site?
No, absolutely not, but which parts of the site and search options you will gain most from may depend on whether you are a student, a lecturer, or an employer. The information provided in addition to that found by using the search options is particular to each user group and has been informed by earlier research carried out with each target group.
- If you are a lecturer or a member of a Careers Service in HE – try the search options through the subject pages first. By clicking on links in these subject pages, you will be taken further into the resource where you will find advice on how to make your teaching/practice more inclusive.
- If you are an employer, you may well be interested in searching by impairment, this will lead you to information about the various abilities that may be affected by a particular condition/impairment and what adjustments to practice can be made for this.
- If you are a student, you will find advice and guidance on how to improve your own skills by searching under employability skill.
Is this site complete or can I suggest some further ideas?
The project was completed on January 31st 2011, however, we anticipate continuing to make adjustments that will improve the site and make it more appropriate to the users’ needs so we welcome any suggestions you may have.
How can I benefit from the site?
You can find plenty of useful information by reading about the various abilities associated with the development of certain employability skills/competences.
Certain impairments and/or conditions may limit some abilities BUT this does not mean that disabled people cannot evidence/achieve the skills; it does mean, however, that reasonable adjustments to practice may be needed to enable this. The site offers a range of advice and guidance under the heading ‘inclusive strategies’, this advice can be found each time you click on a link that involves a skill and an associated ability, for example, teamwork and empathy.
Do I need to register or pay to use the site?
No, the site is completely free and there is no requirement to register. However, we would be very pleased to receive feedback from you, so please contact us after you have used the site and let us have your opinions and suggestions for improvements.
Dr Val Chapman (NTF)
Director, Centre for Inclusive Learning Support
Judith Waterfield (NTF)
Head of Disability ASSIST Services
Dr Phil Gravestock (NTF)
Head of Learning Enhancement and Technology Support