The chief of staff for Shaw Trust talks about the organisation’s recent partnership with UKinbound, and how he hopes it will benefit the industry.
What sort of work does Shaw Trust do?
Shaw Trust’s purpose is to help people transform their lives. We believe everyone has something to offer society, and our role is to overcome barriers to full inclusion and independence.
We do that by helping people find and sustain work, transition out of prison and into society, managing mental health conditions and running a network of school and social enterprises. So it’s a broad portfolio of activity, but the core crux of our work is to help people who are the most disadvantaged on the fringes of society achieve full inclusion.
How will the new partnership with UKinbound benefit both parties?
The word partnership is particularly important because we need to make sure it’s beneficial for both sides – it needs to give something to the UKinbound members as well as finding a way to contribute to our charitable mission.
From my perspective, the core area in which Shaw Trust can help contribute to UKinbound’s members is in helping find, retain and upskill staff. One of the challenges their members will be facing particularly in the post Brexit referendum climate is attracting highly skilled, high-quality staff for the UK tourism and leisure industries. We believe that we’ve got a huge amount of knowledge and skill that we can offer UKinbound members in order to address that issue.
The other area is in helping members engage and become more confident in working with people with disabilities, both in terms of clients coming to the UK and also becoming great employers of people with disabilities.
The rise in disability tourism in the coming years, as more people age and accessibility improves across the world, could potentially create a great bottom-line opportunity for the UK and show some real returns to UKinbound members.
We started this with our Shaw Trust Rehabilitation International World Congress in October last year when we had 1,000 delegates from across 70 countries and 12 ministerial delegations meet in Edinburgh, where they saw the work we’ve done to make sure the city’s infrastructure is accessible as possible.
This has taken off on a global scale, and we’re keen to position the UK as a global leader in disability tourism and would be delighted to work with UKinbound to make that happen.
What we also know is that the government is keen to halve the disability employment gap, which would mean roughly an extra one million people with disabilities in employment over the coming few years. So we want to help UKinbound members become more disability confident, to be great employers for our clients and to be more inclusive.
What can UKinbound members do for Shaw Trust?
Our ultimate aim is to deliver our charitable mission and we’re eager to be working with members to achieve that. This can be through finding employment spaces for our clients, or helping us spend our money and up-skilling staff.
We were delighted on the evening of the UKinbound 40th Anniversary Gala that there was such a great response to the fundraiser, and we are very grateful to the people who attended and donated on the night. But to us, although that was a fantastic contribution, this about really making some concrete opportunities for UKinbound members too, because without their interest it will be more charitable giving than a partnership.
Has there been any partnership activity so far?
We have met to scope out exactly what the partnership could look like. We have identified at least dozen areas where we believe there is mutual interest and benefit.
At the moment it’s a little too early to say what exactly we’ll be doing. Certainly we’ve been sharing our networking opportunities to make sure we both have good exposure across our contacts, and we’ll be coming to the UKinbound members meeting in December.
But we’ll soon be getting something concrete and high-quality out to those members to explain the scope of the partnership, where they can benefit from it, and how we can work together in the future.