Here you will find lots of information and resources for you to explore the practicalities of the scheme and the benefits of signing up for a disabled mentor.
For more information and to find out how to register for a mentor please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In the UK disabled people are twice more likely to be unemployed compared to non-disabled people and need to apply for 60% more jobs. 20% of the working population have a disability and the number of disabled people is increasing. Collectively disabled people and their households have an estimated spending power of £274 billion per year.
Disabled people often experience direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace and when accessing services and products. More often than not, organisations want to employ, support or provide services to disabled people but don’t have the awareness or tools to do so. Organisations are missing out on the best talent and the business of disabled consumers due to poor accessibility, both physical and digital, and not being disability confident in their approaches.
This is where the Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme can help. The scheme strategically assigns organisations with an experienced, reverse disabled mentor. Over the six month mentoring relationship your mentor will help you to set and progress your diversity and inclusion goals and share their invaluable insights of disability.
The benefits of joining the scheme include -
Organisations register to the scheme for a variety of reasons. Every organisation is different and have their own disability challenges. You will be asked for details of these when you register for the scheme. This will help to facilitate a suitable mentor match.
Mentees can be anyone within your organisation. Some organisations register their executive board to participate in the scheme to embed disability confidence and awareness at the heart of their decision making. Other organisations register their HR or Diversity & Inclusion leaders to embed best practice across their organisation. Mentees have also included operational colleagues working directly with customers with disabilities, team leaders and managers, recruiters and others with a direct interest or passion about diversity and inclusion.
Some of the common reasons to register for the scheme, include:
Please contact us directly to discuss your mentoring requirements and for details on the registration process.
We have a wide range of disabled mentors available either in education, seeking employment or in employment. They will have a disability and have first-hand knowledge of disability challenges. Based on your requirements for the scheme you could be paired with a school leaver, apprentice, university student or graduate or an entry level or senior professional.
Your mentor will be provided with comprehensive training and guidance from us before you start your mentoring relationship to ensure they are well equipped and empowered to support you to get the most from the scheme.
Like most mentees you will be excited to start your mentoring relationship and reach your goals. It is, however, important to have realistic expectations of what your mentor can and can’t support you with. You shouldn’t expect your mentor to tell you what to do or know everything. You know your company best and know what can and can’t be implemented or changed. You should enter your mentoring relationship with an open mind and be open to what your mentor has to say. Your mentor’s role is to support you in developing your own ideas and solutions to overcome challenges, increase your self-reliance when it comes to disability best practice and progress towards your goals. They will share their experiences and perspectives with you and will listen and ask questions to help you reflect and consider your options.
Being prepared and having clear goals is imperative to give your mentoring relationship the best chance of success. When you register for the scheme you will be asked for your reasons for signing up. Based on these you will be strategically matched with a mentor that suits your requirements. During your first mentoring session you should discuss and finalise your goals with your mentor. In the mentee workbook there is space for you to brainstorm and explore your goals and monitor your progress throughout the mentoring relationship.
Where possible your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time driven). The SMART method will help you to push yourself and give you a clear sense of direction. For example -
“I will review and implement changes to the reasonable adjustment process at application, interview and on boarding stages within two months to increase disabled applicants and retention to ultimately increase diversity within my organisation”
There are lots of mentoring tools and techniques available to help you to reach your goals. Two of the most effective models include the SWOT analysis and the GROW model.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and will be useful for you to use to understand and assess aspects of your organisation. It will help you to realise and make the most of what you’ve got (your strengths), recognise what you are lacking (your weaknesses), explore what potential options you have for success (your opportunities) and realise what hazards you need to eliminate (your threats).
The GROW model stands for Goal, current Reality, Options and Way forward and is a useful model as it leads to a clearly defined end result through the four phases. First you should explore what exactly you want to achieve (G), then consider what the current situation is, including what qualities, resources and strengths and weaknesses (R), then, using your mentors insight, advice and knowledge, brainstorm what you could do (O) and then, finally, set specific actions and next steps (W).
It is recommended that you use these techniques and your mentee will have received training on them however, you should only use them if they work for you. Further details will be provided in the resources provided to you when you start the mentoring scheme.
The guide for mentors and mentees and the mentee workbook will be your main source of support and guidance throughout the scheme. These will be sent to you when you start the mentoring scheme. Please make sure you have read these before your first mentoring session to ensure you are familiar with the scheme and your expectations and requirements. There is also a raft of information online about reverse mentoring and disability. Support will also be provided by us throughout the scheme. We will regularly check in with you to review progress and offer support. If you have any questions or require support at any time please contact email@example.com.
All mentoring matches include:
Your mentor will receive payment for every completed mentoring session.
For prices please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bulk packages are available if more than two people in your organisation sign up to the scheme. You may have a board, department or a group of colleagues who would benefit from signing up.
The Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme is national and you may be matched with a mentor in a different geographic location than you. As such the scheme takes place via an inclusive online platform. The scheme taking place virtually also removes many of the physical barriers disabled participates may have in accessing the mentoring scheme.
You may decide to meet in person with your mentor during the scheme however, we will need to be informed and the Disability Connect Safeguarding Adults Policy will need to be followed. Travel expenses will not be reimbursed from the Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme.
If you would like to cancel, you must give at least 48hrs notice before your first mentoring session. Refunds will not be provided part way through the mentoring relationship. If you are experiencing any problems during your mentoring relationship, please contact Disability Connect.
If your mentor leaves the scheme you will be offered a refund on a pro-rata basis based on the number of incomplete sessions or offered a new mentor for no additional cost.
If you are not completely satisfied with the scheme please contact email@example.com. Please do not direct any complaints to your mentor.