After months of collecting applications and deliberating over the many entries we received, the winners of the 2016 Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Awards were announced last week at an exclusive event in London.

As regular readers of my blog post may know, the RIDI Awards recognise progress and celebrate the success of organisations that are making headway in increasing the inclusion of disabled job seekers by reviewing recruitment processes and strategies to ensure access to what is a seemingly hidden pool of talent.

It may sound slightly clichéd to some, but the calibre of entrants truly was top class this year and the judging panel struggled to select just one winner per category. Reading the entries was truly inspirational for myself and everyone involved in the awards. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there is a huge gap between the employment rate of disabled people and the rest of the population that quite simply needs to be closed.

According to the latest official statistics, just 47 per cent of people with disabilities of working age were in employment between October and December 2015. Among non-disabled people, this figure stood at 80 per cent.

By showcasing the work they are doing to create a more inclusive environment, each of the winners and every entrant to these awards is showing the rest of the business world what a difference they can make to the diversity of their workforce and indeed the lives of those living with disabilities.

The full list of winners for each category are:

Getting Started – Kelly Services

Employers’ Choice – Equal Approach

Agency Choice – Remploy

Individual Choice – Manpower

Extending the Reach – Civil Service

Reasonable Adjustments in Recruitment – Pontoon

Disability ConfidentGuidant Group

Innovation in Assessment – Leonard Cheshire Disability

Supply Chain Management – Lloyd’s

Audience Choice – Guidant Group

Coronation Street actress, Cherylee Houston, who MC’d for the evening, summed up just how important the work of each of these companies is to disabled job seekers:

“As a professional who is also a wheelchair user I am all too aware of the challenges that disabled jobseekers can face. Many of these can simply be attributed to a lack of understanding and a shortage of disabled people who are positioned as role models. RIDI’s work to overcome these hurdles is incredibly valuable. Just as me and others are changing the perception of disability by appearing in the public eye, organisations which are involved with RIDI are removing fear around disability by talking about their experiences and sharing best practice. By raising awareness surrounding the barriers that disabled employees face, we can help break them down.” 

Congratulations again to all the winners – and to those who entered, know that your work is helping pave the way for a more inclusive working world.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.