If you have a disability or a health condition, job interviews can be tricky. For example, if you’re physically disabled and your interview is in person, then transport to and from wherever it’s being held can pose a problem. Or, if you’re deaf or have hearing loss, you might experience communication difficulties.
However, through the Access to Work scheme, you can apply for support (for example, with communication) to make sure that the interview process doesn’t put you at a disadvantage. If your application is successful, this could provide you with money to help pay for a BSL interpreter, lip speaker, advocate, or communicator to assist you if you’re deaf, hard of hearing, or have any other communication difficulties.
In some cases, Access to Work will also fund job coaching, to help you transition as smoothly as possible into a paid role. Plus, you can receive help after you’ve been offered a job and beyond – as well as if you’re participating in any work experience, government training, or apprenticeship programmes.
This help can involve applying for a grant to put towards any practical support you might need when you secure a role. For example, if you’re physically disabled and cannot use public transport, you might be able to use an Access to Work grant to help pay for taxi fares to and from work.
And finally, if you suffer from a mental health condition, the Access to Work scheme also offers a free, confidential mental health support service where you can access support for up to nine months after you start a job. This will include an individual support plan, which has steps to ensure that you don’t just retain your new position, but thrive in it.
To find out more about the Access to Work scheme and whether or not you’re eligible, take a look at the government’s website. While this particular scheme is only available to those who live in England, Scotland, and Wales, there’s a different but similar scheme in place in Northern Ireland, which you can find out about here.