EEF member Arlington Automotive has a great story to share about how they created an inclusive work environment, particularly for those with disabilities.
Many people, manufacturers included, think that a disability prevents you from a successful career in manufacturing or engineering. At Arlington Automotive we think otherwise. In fact, we can prove that this isn’t the case.
Since 2013 when we took over the three sites of Remploy Automotive – an organisation set up to provide sheltered employment for disabled people - we’re really proud to have been able to step in when the government withdrew their funding.
It’s led to us being recognised across our industry and beyond as a company which really champions diversity. But the fight goes on. When it comes to working in manufacturing, diversity and workplace equality are important barriers which we can all help to break down.
Some may find this is by employing more women in traditionally male-focused roles, or by opening up new positions to a wider variety of people. At Arlington, we focus on providing long and fruitful careers to people with disabilities.
Of our company’s 330-strong workforce, approximately 75% have some form of disability. This could be physical, learning, mental illness or a long term/lifelong condition. We have some employees with adaptive equipment/workstations, but the majority of adjustments are fairly simple such as making the work environment accessible to all people and for thing like work instructions to be written in straight forward language and using as many pictures as possible instead of words. Our Team Leaders and Managers have had training in the past, but it is not necessarily something we do all the time and it has become second nature to many of them. We do look to do additional training when required, e.g. at the minute we are looking to roll out some mental health awareness training to help managers spot the early signs and support employees.
But regardless of the label – and the stigma that so often comes with it – first and foremost, these are skilled and talented people. People who’ve delivered a high quality service to our customers including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Nissan and Aston Martin. People who’ve helped us achieve a turnover of around £80M a year.
As a champion of equal opportunities in the workplace, everyone at Arlington is proud of what we’re achieving together. We’re proving that any manufacturing company can meet its CSR commitments, while still making a commercial success. Working in manufacturing has never been more open.