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Croydon Disability Confident’s Reverse Jobs Fair

When we were first notified of Croydon Disability Confident’s Reverse Job Fair, the name piqued an interest. It’s an unusual name for a job fair, however, after finding out more information from the flyer attachment in the email, it became a lot clearer.

Most job fair formats consist of a hall or room filled with employers with vacancies sitting behind tables meeting with potential job seekers.  However, the format of the Disability Confident fair held on 9 November at Croydon Council’s Community Space, provided the opportunity for 24 people with disabilities to set out their skills and experience stalls for registered employers to visit and get to know the candidates assembled.

Following introductions by Cllr Andrew Rendle, Croydon’s Autism Champion Cabinet, the Mayor of Croydon, Wayne Trakas-Lawlor and Jon Brookes from The Croydon Partnership, an eye-opening presentation was provided by Terry Smith who has a learning difficulty.  Terry told the 20 employers and fellow jobseekers gathered in the room about his experiences of working for the police services in various administrative roles including couriering papers and files between offices until being made redundant.

While currently being employed as a cashier at a Wickes store for just 6 hours a week, he is still wanting and waiting  to get full time work that utilises his experiences and skills.

Following Terry’s powerful insight into job search for those with disabilities, visiting employers were encouraged to walk around and speak with individuals who were keen and eager to work.  Candidates came prepared with CVs, storyboards, chaperones and support workers where appropriate to explain how they can perform roles within most businesses from admin, retail to hospitality and construction.

As a result of the event, 83 CVs were taken by employers, four people have been offered interviews, five work trials were brokered and 14 work experience placements were arranged with one being paid work experience.  In addition two people were offered work.

With the amount of regeneration and development going on in Croydon over the next five years, local people with disabilities have a vital contribution to give and share in the borough’s success. The Disability Confident Reverse Jobs Fair provided a step along the road to achieving this and is something that should continue.

Further details of the Croydon Disability Confident initiative are available from Emma Shepherd, CESS Team Leader on 0208 726 6000  Ext 13608 or e-mail

Photograph courtesy of John Nunn, Croydon Commitment

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