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Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. There are currently 1.3 million disabled people in the UK who are available for and want to work – a source of skills and expertise which is being overlooked.
ICE Wales Cymru's Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Sub-Group are excited to host this engaging debate looking at what the civil engineering industry can do to tap into this pool of talent to meet the future needs of our industry. The lecture will look at the barriers faced by disabled people in accessing employment and hear practical tips to make civil engineering more welcoming and accessible.
Two speakers, Dan Biddle and Helen Kane, will look at the different challenges facing people with both visible and invisible disabilities from answering a job advert to building a long-term career. They'll consider the barriers, both physical and personal, to getting a foot in the door and overcoming unconscious bias towards different types of disabilities.
The event is kindly being sponsored by PHG Consulting Engineers Ltd.
In 2005, Dan Biddle was caught up in horrifying events of the 7th July terrorist attacks in London. Age 26, Dan suffered life-changing injuries and was described by the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police as being the worst injured survivor of that terrible day.
Dan's story, however, is as much about the set of coincidences that led to his being stood in the wrong place, two feet away from a suicide bomber on 7/7, as it is of his ongoing journey of rehabilitation, re-entering the working environment and re-setting of his life boundaries in the years after the event. He has battled back against all odds to rebuild his life and now campaigns for greater equality within society for disabled people.
Dan's working life has been in the construction industry as a Project Manager and surveyor. He is now CEO of Nationwide Access Consultants Ltd and works with large multinational companies to improve their levels of access for disabled people. He also helps professional people with disabilities access employment. He has won many awards in this role, including the Chartered Institute of Building's Paul Andre Outstanding Achievement Award, South Essex Homes' Diversity Champion and DMUK (Disability Motoring UK) Special Achievement Award 2015.
Dan Biddle is a speaker not to be missed. His story is compelling
Helen formed Access Included Ltd in 2004 after setting a precedent on reduced valuations for less accessible buildings in central London. The RICS practice based in Cardiff and London specialises in increasing wellbeing and productivity (25%) for building users, focusing on neurodiversity and multi-sensory inclusive design.
The practice embraces the social model of disability, with a 'can do first' attitude. Helping employers to attract and retain the talents of a diverse workforce and opening opportunities to all, regardless of background, is a priority.
Helen holds a masters (Dist.) in Construction Project Management, an honours degree in Housing, a teaching qualification, and is a qualified pilot, carpenter and plumber. As a general practice surveyor she has a wide range of experience in all sectors, ranging from negotiations on the London Olympics site to searching for properties while piloting a plane in Africa. Her experience spans residential, retail, industrial and commercial sectors internationally (70+ countries).
Helen has been a Chartered Surveyor for 30 years and is currently the first female chair of the RICS in Wales, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2018. Her focus as chair covers SME's, diversity, inclusion, the construction skills gap and infrastructure. Other voluntary positions include the National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) board, Design Commission for Wales design review panel, Civic Trust, CEW and Insider property awards judge, ICE Wales Cymru FIR committee, ex Chair of Women in Property in Wales and Samaritans listener.