This resource guide is primarily for individuals with a health condition or disability who want to find a job or need help to keep a job. However, some of the resources will be useful to anyone looking for work. Not all support is available in all locations – this guide is primarily aimed at people in the UK and Ireland. Some of the guidance such as interview tips will be useful to people from any location though.
Please let us know if you are aware of resources we should add to or update in this guide or find any broken links.
This section may be useful whether you are in work or looking for new work.
To identify an organisation or individual vocational rehabilitation practitioner who can provide practical hands-on support to gain or maintain employment please use our find a practitioner service to search for an individual practitioner member or connect with our organisational members. VRA members are committed to providing services in line with the Standards of Practice and Code of Conduct for VR Practitioners.
Talking about Disability
- Talking to an employer about disability here.
- Should I disclose my disability/health condition to my employer/potential employer here.
- Learn about the Equality Act (UK exceot NI) in relation to finding and keeping work here.
- Dealing with discrimination in employment here.
- Discrimination: your rights here.
- Health and Safety for disabled people here
- The Equality Act, DDA(NI) and sight loss here
Republic of Ireland
- Find out more about reasonable accommodation here.
Workplace aids and adaptations – if you are in work or looking for work
- Access to Work (England, Scotland and Wales) is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. This can be useful whether you have a job, are looking for work, are on supported internship or traineeship or want to become or are self-employed. Details here.
- Access to work (Northern Ireland) is available to overcome the practical problems caused by disability. It offers advice and help in a flexible way that can be tailored to suit the needs of an individual in a particular job or getting to and from work. It can also contribute towards the additional approved costs that arise. Personal and Business benefit are taken into account in all cases. Details here.
- RNIBs Access to Work factsheet has a useful explanation of how the scheme works
- Reasonable accommodation fund (Republic of Ireland) can assist with costs for workplace equipment and adaptations, personal readers, interpreters and more. Details here.
- Turn2us is a National charity providing benefit checks and details of grants in the UK. You may be able to claim benefits even if you are working. The benefits calculator can be used to help you look at the impact of a particular role on a benefits package. Details here.
- In Northern Ireland you can contact Make the Call for benefits advice here.
- Learn about employee benefits, salary sacrifice schemes and benefits and tax credits you can claim after job loss here.
- Benefits related to disability or sickness here.
Disability and Health-Related Charities and Not for Profit Organisations
- There are many organisations that provide specialist support for a particular disability or health condition including employment. The best way to identify them will be to search for your condition and then look for employment-related information on their website.
Nation Specific Resources
- Northern Ireland here also see information about the Condition Management Programme, a VRA member, here.
- Scotland here, here and here.
- Ireland here.
Resources for young people
- Prince’s Trust has some resources specifically for young people including the Get Hired workbook here and Find a job Tools and Resources for young people here.
- Help and support for young disabled people to find and stay in work here.
- Downloadable booklets on careers and looking for work for young people here.
Resources for older workers
- If you are over 50 and find yourself out of work or facing redundancy, it may seem daunting. Perhaps it’s years since you wrote a CV, or you need to think about using your skills and experience in a different type of role. Whatever your situation, there are some helpful tips to get started here.
Support keeping a job
- If you are in employment and become disabled here.
- Access to Work Mental Health Support Service. This confidential service is delivered by VRA member Remploy and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions is available at no charge to any employees with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work. It is for people who are employed. Check you’re eligible and then apply directly to either Able Futures or Maximus.
- Asking your employer for changes to help you if you’re disabled here.
- What are reasonable adjustments here.
- Reasonable adjustments information from ACAS here
- Abilitynet has free factsheets on computing and a range of disabilities and health conditions here.
- Fit for Work offers free, expert and impartial advice to anyone looking for help with issues around health and work here.
- You can do an online assessment to identify potential reasonable adjustments here.
The RNIB Employment Team in Northern Ireland can offer support and advice to blind or partially sighted people facing challenges to do/retain a job due to sight loss – details here.
Jobcentre Plus services (England, Scotland and Wales)
- Disability Employment Advisers can advise on job seeking, training and new skills, and government schemes. Contact them via Jobcentre Plus
- Intensive Personalised Employment Support is one-to-one support and training to help you into work if you have a disability or health condition here.
- The Work and Health Programme helps you find and keep a job if you’re out of work. It’s voluntary – unless you’ve been out of work and claiming unemployment benefits for 24 months here.
- Workable (NI) provides a flexible range of long term support to help people with disabilities, who have a lot of barriers to employment, to find and keep work here.
- The Condition Management Programme helps you manage your health condition to allow you to progress towards, move into and stay in employment. The programme is led by healthcare professionals, such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and mental health nurses here.
- The Eye Work Too programme from RNIB is a unique initiative, offering life-changing opportunities for blind or partially sighted people to maximise their long-term employment potential here.
Republic of Ireland
- EmployAbility is an employment support service for people with disabilities, injuries and illnesses. Find your local organisation here.
For people with sight loss
RNIB’s free online jobseeker course has been designed to help people with sight loss decide the next steps to take when thinking about employment and contains lots of practical advice about finding a securing a job here.
- Get help to retrain here.
- Get a summary of job groups that might interest you and answer some extra questions to find those you might be suited to here.
- Explore different jobs here, here and here.
- What job would suit me here.
- National Careers Service (England) Explore careers, do a skills assessment and get careers advice here.
- My World of Work (Scotland) here.
- Careers Wales here.
- NI Direct Careers here.
- Career Guidance Ireland here.
CVs, cover letters and applications
- CV templates and guidance here, here, here and for young people here.
- Writing a cover letter here and here.
- Completing an application form here.
TIP Spelling and grammar matter. Check them for free online with Grammarly
- How to answer common interview questions here.
- Interview advice and tips here and here.
- Tips for video interviews here and here.
- Questions you can ask during an interview here.
- Information about psychometric tests here.
TIP Disability Confident Employer – When you’re looking for work, look on adverts and application forms for the ‘disability confident’ symbol. You can also find a list of organisations who have signed up to the scheme here and more about it here. This symbol means:
- the employer is committed to employing disabled people
- you are guaranteed an interview if you meet the basic conditions for the job
- Department for Work and Pensions Find a Job here.
- Indeed here.
- Evenbreak – the employers who advertise on Evenbreak are actively aiming to attract disabled candidates – here.
- Choosing a recruitment agency from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation here.
- The Open Doors Initiative (Ireland) works with companies who practice inclusive recruitment – here.
TIP If you are unemployed and have an interview 500 Timpson branches will clean an outfit for you free of charge, find one here.
Just a few of the organisations providing free interview clothing:
- Suited for Success
- Suited and Booted
- The Suit Works
- Dress for Success London and Scotland and Northern Ireland
Search for similar organisations in your local area if these are not close to you.
- Access to Work support is fully funded for businesses of 49 employees or less and the self-employed. (England, Scotland and Wales)
- Step up Ireland empowering adults with disabilities to become entrepreneurs.
- .gov.uk business and self-employment setting up, tax and registering and detailed guidance (UK)
- Turn2Us Self employment and benefits guidance (UK)
- Fredericks Foundation’s mission is to provide access to small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit.
- Startups has information about small business grants.
- Scope has information about self-employment and benefits and more.
- BASE has a useful list of resources plus details of some of their members are actively involved in developing self-employment and small business opportunities.
- Princes Trust offers support to 18-30 year olds who want to start a buiness.
- Leapers offers help and advice specifically for people who are self-employed or freelancers. Working for yourself can be lonely and challenging at times and it is important to look after yourself.
VRA members can access additional information about self-employment here.
Supporting the Armed Forces Community
Veterans’ Gateway – information and support for veterans and their families.
Veterans UK – provide free support for veterans and their families, including a helpline, Veterans Welfare Service, Defence Transition Services and injury/bereavement compensation scheme payments. They also provide welfare support for veterans of any age, and their families through the Veterans Welfare Service and the Veterans UK helpline.
Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs are completely FREE… And will remain free! With over 300+ clubs in 14 Countries and approximately 100,000 members worldwide, you are bound to find a club that’s in your area. There are no fees or subs; they do not exist to raise funds for any national charity, organisation or business; Breakfast Clubs exist simply to facilitate veterans (also quite often current service personnel) meeting face to face in a relaxed, safe, social environment; that is our primary aim and function above all others, to allow veterans to ‘return to the tribe’.
Op Courage is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.
Poppy Factory – Supporting veterans with health conditions into work.
Their employment support includes:
- Advice on job opportunities to match each veteran’s own skills and goals.
- Support with CVs, job application forms and preparing for interviews.
- Support with training and qualifications when they are needed.
- Regular contact with veterans after moving into employment.
- Working with veterans and their employers to overcome barriers and find solutions.
- Regular joint working with partner organisations to ensure veterans have consistent support.
Criteria for support
- Have you served for one day or more in the Armed Forces or Reserves?
- Do you consider yourself to have a mental or physical health condition? This does not need to be linked to your time in service.
- Are you unemployed and thinking about moving back into work? We may also be able to help if you are being made redundant, are absent through long-term sickness, or your role negatively impacts your health.