Paralympian launches pioneering platform to get disabled people into work

Liz Johnson

Gold medal winning Paralympian Liz Johnson has launched a new jobs platform to empower disabled workers and connect them with freelance job opportunities.

The new website, called Podium, is the UK’s first jobs marketplace designed to cater for disabled talent. The platform is free to use and open for freelancers to create profiles, showcasing the untapped skill sets of the disabled workforce. On 1st June the platform will be available for employers to post jobs, making the diverse talents of the disabled population directly accessible to businesses.

The venture is the brainchild of Liz Johnson, the Founder of groundbreaking disability consultancy The Ability People (TAP).

TAP works with corporates such as HSBC and Chelsea Football Club to improve the recruitment and retention of disabled talent in order to close the UK’s shocking disability employment gap (28.6%).

Now, they are expanding their ambitions and tackling disability discrimination at its source with the launch of Podium. They hope to disrupt the digital hiring space and highlight the expertise of disabled people with the launch of the platform.

The Podium marketplace allows companies to advertise projects and search for professionals within the community of disabled freelancers who can take on the work. Likewise, freelancers can search for roles which suit their needs and set their rates through bespoke profiles. They can also contact employers directly about available roles, providing increased agency in the job hunting process.

Liz, Paralympian and Founder of TAP, comments: “The mass transition to remote working has finally killed off many of the arguments that have long prevented disabled people from securing meaningful paid work. Namely that businesses couldn’t accommodate someone with a different working style or workplace requirements that deviated from the norm.

“Working remotely has challenged the status quo. Businesses are fundamentally rethinking how they hire and how they operate. It’s proven that, if the majority depend on it, it’s quite possible to cater for a workforce with different needs. Now that we’re beginning to transition out of lockdown, it’s essential that we use this as an opportunity to tackle our shocking track record of disability employment in the UK and embrace a new approach to hiring disabled talent. That’s why we’re launching Podium.

“The disabled community is teeming with untapped talent and skill – all that’s left is to bring it to light. That’s where Podium comes in: connecting hiring managers and disabled freelancers via one, easy to use platform. We believe it has the opportunity to transform how disabled people find jobs and will enable our economy to benefit from the immense contribution this community is poised to provide.”

Adil Ghani, Consultant at TAP and disability campaigner, comments: “Podium puts the power back into the hands of disabled people when it comes to job hunting. Too often in the past I’ve found that the onus is on us to try to accommodate the employer’s needs, rather than the other way around. What’s so important about this platform is that it recognises the value disabled workers have to offer. It’s not charity, it’s business, and it allows disabled freelancers to work whenever, wherever and however we need to.”