X-Factor. Britain’s Got Talent. I have always fancied myself as a Judge. Not Simon Cowell. More David Walliams. Supportive. And when critical, in a way that is hugely constructive.

I feel privileged to be a Judge for the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Awards this year. When it comes to disability employment I can draw on personal experience.

I was 17. Second year of A-levels with good predicted grades. The Careers Advisor kept saying my CV lacked work experience. When it came to getting a summer job my name was right next door to Health and Safety. And then someone took a punt and it changed my life. For 9 weeks I oversaw Business Rates for a Local Council. Organisations who hadn’t paid and ringing them to chase. I think about the pain involved doing it now in the pandemic. The school of hard knocks but brilliant grounding. Life changing for me. Opening of eyes for them.

All shortlisted organisations will have the same profound effect. Recruiting and/or retaining talent. Who happen to have a disability. I salute you all and I haven’t seen one submission yet. But absolute pioneers in changing the disability conversation for good.

Golden buzzer Friday!

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