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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability ServiceStudents

Disability, SpLD & Long-Term Health Conditions

There is a diverse range of students at the University of Southampton and we look to support each and every one of you to develop your employability through bespoke careers resources, information and advice.

If you have a disability, specific learning difficulty (SpLD) or long-term health condition (including mental health), the support available includes:

Please see the tabs below or email careers@southampton.ac.uk for further information.

The Careers and Employability Service offers a workshop for students with a disability, specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, or long-term health condition. This workshop explores disclosure and support in the graduate recruitment process and in the workplace.

It covers:

  • an overview of the Equality Act 2010
  • your rights as an applicant or employee
  • whether and when to disclose your disability and how to present it positively
  • You will also have the opportunity to discuss concerns and ask questions
Workshop

Due to the current circumstances we are unable to run our workshop in person so we are hosting webinar sessions instead. We have also created a panopto version which you can view below. Please check the MyCareer Events Calendar for upcoming webinar dates.  If you need any further support please contact careers@southampton.ac.uk to book a phone or video appointment with an adviser.

Additional information is also available in our Disability and Employability Toolkit.

Students who have declared a health condition, specific learning difficulty or a disability to the University have access to additional support services as detailed below:

 University services:

  • Careers and Employability Service - offers a range of personal support, workshops and work experience to help with your career development, including 'Disability, Disclosure and Employability' workshops
  • Enabling Services - offers a range of services to students with disabilities, including appointments and personal support
  • Assistive Technology Centre - provides assistive technology for anyone who may need assistance to gain more equal access to the academic curriculum 
  • Neurodiversity and Disability Society (SUSU Society) - A society aimed at students who identify as neurodivergent or disabled, those who are self-diagnosed or unsure, and anyone else who would like to learn more about neurodiversity and disability topics

External services:

 

 

As we know our Careers Fairs are often busy we have implemented a wristband system which students with a disability, SpLD or long-term health condition may benefit from.

Students at the Careers Fair
Students at the Careers Fair

You can collect a wristband prior to the Fair which can be shown on the day to enable you to join the front of the queue, so that you can make the most of the Fair before it gets busy.

  • You can come at any point during the opening times of the Fair and you will not need to queue
  • If you wish, you will also be able to make use of a room at the Jubilee Sports Centre, throughout the day, to read through the Fair brochure and research information about the companies attending

You can also opt to collect a wristband for a friend so you can visit the Fair together if you wish. Printed copies of the fair brochures will be available to collect from the Careers Centre a few days prior to the event.

The information above relates to our Careers Fairs taking place on campus. If you would like to discuss accessibility requirements for our online events, please email careers@southampton.ac.uk and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Should you disclose your disability and if so, when?

Disclosure is always a personal choice and there is no obligation in most circumstances to disclose.

Making a choice about what and when to disclose gives you control over the way your disability is presented and enables you to take advantage of your rights to receive 'reasonable adjustments', both in the recruitment process and once in work. A simple example of reasonable adjustments would be extra time for psychometric tests. Further information and examples can be found on the Scope website.

Information about when to disclose is available on the UoS Career Hub and is discussed in our Disability, Disclosure and Employability workshops. You can talk to Careers staff to help you decide what is right for you through our Ask the Adviser service and may also find the points below helpful:

Reasons for disclosure:

  • Many employers have excellent equal opportunities policies demonstrating commitment to non-prejudicial recruitment and employment procedures. Find out as much as you can about the organisation and their recruitment policies.
  • Some employers have made a commitment to employing people with disabilities and may demonstrate this with the 'Disability Confident' symbol.
  • If you will need special arrangements at the interview, assessment centre or psychometric tests you will need to declare your disability at the application stage.
  • If your disability has any implications for the health and safety of yourself or work colleagues then you are obliged to inform your employer.

Arguments against disclosure:

  • You may fear that employers will discriminate against you; the Equality Act provides safeguards against this.
  • In a competitive job market you may feel that an employer might focus on the disability rather than your ability.
  • You may not want to discuss your disability with anyone or be labelled by it.
  • You may feel that your disability has no effect on your ability to do the job.

When to disclose:

  • Some application forms ask direct questions about disability so you can give all the necessary details at this stage. Making a positive statement may well alleviate any doubts that a prospective employer might have. You might prefer to disclose information in a covering letter to give yourself the opportunity to emphasise your positive achievements.
  • Medical questionnaires will ask about disability and you must answer honestly. However, under the Equality Act, an employer cannot ask a prospective employee about their health prior to making them an offer of employment.
  • If you disclose your disability at interview you should do so in a positive way. It may be easier to put any relevant information on paper in advance rather than handling it in a face-to-face situation.

Positive Marketing

Do not assume that an employer will have a negative attitude towards employing a person with a disability. If you make a positive statement about your disability you will control how it is perceived. Try to emphasise achievements and give examples of skills that you may have developed as a result of your disability, such as flexibility, determination, the ability to perform under pressure and creative problem solving. You do not need to ‘sell’ your disability but think about how your experiences and skills as a disabled person are selling points and may give you an edge over other candidates.

Top tips in making a positive statement about your disability:

  • Focus on your strengths, experience and skills and keep control of the situation. Do not let your disability dominate your application.
  • Emphasise the different perspective that you can offer the organisation.
  • Acknowledge any difficulties that you have had and highlight the ways that you have overcome them, demonstrating a determination to succeed.

Examples of strengths and skills:

  • Possess strong reasoning powers and lateral thinking ability and are good at seeing the bigger picture.
  • Have developed a range of strategies to handle information and prioritise workload.
  • Have good organisational and problem-solving skills.
  • Have developed an awareness of the different problems that other people face.
  • Have a positive attitude and show commitment to success.

Examples of positive statements:

"Because of my hearing loss I have developed excellent levels of concentration. This is demonstrated in my ability to analyse spreadsheets and make performance related forecasts."

"I have Cerebral Palsy which affects my speech. My communication has a few problems which I have learnt to work around by using different words or by writing them down. I am aware of the problems that other people can face and I usually think of ways to overcome or help to alleviate these."

"Because I am dyslexic I have developed a range of strategies in the collection and processing of information and in structuring my work. In addition I make full use of a variety of computer software to assist my written work."

 

The government defines disability in the following terms:

"You're disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities."

  • ‘Substantial’ is more than minor or trivial - e.g. it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed.
  • ‘Long-term’ means 12 months or more - e.g. a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection
  • There are special rules about recurring or fluctuating conditions, for example, arthritis and some mental health conditions.

Please see the Gov.uk website and UoS Career Hub for more information relating to the Equality Act.

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