Press Release from Dyslexia Scotland
31 May 2019
Yesterday, at the Scottish Parliament, Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, along with a representative from the UK Career Development Institute and Dyslexia Scotland, presented Dyslexia Scotland’s Career Coach Katie Carmichael with a certificate for completion of the Technical Apprenticeship in Career Development.
Katie undertook the qualification as part of wider developments by the charity to highlight the vital difference that appropriate support for dyslexia could make in halving Scotland’s disability employment gap.
Dyslexic adults are said to represent a large group of the unemployed and can be significantly inhibited by traditional recruitment processes. Within the last few years, two UK reports ‘Opening Doors to Employment’ by the Westminster Achievability Commission and Ernst and Young’s ‘Valuing Dyslexia’ have highlighted that dyslexic people can face insurmountable barriers to finding fair work, but that their differing abilities also represent the creative talent solution that our businesses are looking for in employees to help them innovate.
The charity, which aims to enable all dyslexic people reach their potential, is making closer links with employers and career development support agencies to raise awareness of the positive contribution that a well-supported dyslexic employee can bring to the workforce. The Career Development Service, formed in 2016, provides dyslexia-friendly career support to adults and young people needing help to make the next step in learning and work. As one tenth of the population of Scotland are dyslexic, the charity is calling on all employers and skills and learning organisations to consider how they can support dyslexia more effectively. They are asking employers to identify ‘Dyslexia Champions’ willing to talk about their own dyslexia and encourage an inclusive culture in the workplace.
Mr. Hepburn said, “It was great to meet Katie and present her with the certificate for Technical Apprenticeship in Career Development. One in ten people in Scotland live with dyslexia, and although this condition provides many advantages, it can also create significant barriers for people when trying to enter the world of work.
“It’s essential that people like Katie and all those working in employability and career development roles have the skills and qualifications to provide the highest quality tailored employment support to those they work with.”
Katie Carmichael, Career Coach at Dyslexia Scotland said, “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to undertake this new qualification, which has allowed me to explore career guidance in the context of supporting dyslexia. I’d encourage others with a role in helping people get in to work, or develop their careers to understand the difficulties dyslexic people might experience in finding fulfilling work and to provide the support that helps them thrive.”
Shahaneh Paronakian, a client of Dyslexia Scotland’s Career Development Service, who is studying to become a counsellor as well as working part-time as a classroom assistant, said “The service is inspiring, encouraging and supportive in life-changing ways. I couldn’t have come this far without their help, thanks to how they take time to understand the way I think and learn.”
Ronnie Davidson, Managing Director of Career Studio, co-founder of Character Scotland and a Dyslexia Scotland Board Director said, “Katie is one of the first to complete the Technical Apprenticeship in Career Development and the first outside of Skills Development Scotland. Technical Apprenticeships exist to support experienced individuals to achieve professional recognition for their technical skills and with this award Katie has been able to demonstrate her abilities to support challenging employability situations with outstanding creativity. Katie should be recognised as a highly valuable resource to the Scottish Career Development community in helping improve how we best support people with dyslexia to reach their potential.”
Dyslexia Scotland provides training and resources on effective support of dyslexia in work and learning settings, as well as a range of information, advice and support services to enable dyslexic people of all ages to reach their potential.