Full, Clean Driving Licence

These words, in a job advertisement, could be seen as prejudiced against people with disabilities. But I don’t think so. I don’t see well enough to drive a car and I’d rather know upfront if driving is a requirement. Then I won’t have to waste time applying for a job I won’t be able to do.

When I finished college, I applied to every radio station in the country for a job. One of them gave me a week’s trial. When I got there, they immediately told me that they couldn’t give me a job because they needed someone who could drive. I could have considered that they shot me down. But it wasn’t because of my sight. They needed an ambulance-chasing reporter who could get to the story as soon as possible.

The reality is, this is a difficult country to get around if you don’t have a car. As a self employed person, a lot of meetings I go to are held in industrial estates with no bus service, so I have to get a taxi. This isn’t the fault of the companies. Of course people want a place with plenty of free parking. It comes down to infrastructure, to an inadequate public transport system, to lack of parking.

But there are a few simple things companies could do to make it easier for people with disabilities to work with them. With improvements in broadband services, remote working is a viable option for many people. In my case, most people are fine with arranging to meet me in the city centre if I just tell them, or to give me a lift to and from outlying venues.

If a company wants to hire a person with a disability for a sales job that requires a lot of travelling, they could pay taxi expenses to the equivalent of what they would pay for mileage. People with disabilities who don’t drive get free travel, so a company could end up saving money. And above all, don’t be afraid to put the words Full, Clean Driving License on your ad. It saves us time. And it saves you time.

This blog also appears on www.kanchi.org, an organisation which works with employers to break down barriers to employment for people with disabilites.

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