Accessing untapped talent

Supporting businesses to access “hidden” local talent 

As part of the research towards the LSIP report for our area, many businesses highlighted a need to improve diversity and inclusion in their workforce and welcomed support to help identify and engage with “hidden” pools of talent to help fill skills gaps. 

At the Future Skills Hub’s ‘Motor Vehicle Industry Skills Summit’ on 1st November, this aspect of the report was explored further thanks to support from two representatives from Hampshire and Surrey who work in this area: Toni-Marie Leaf from Hampshire County Council and Christina Earl from Surrey Choices. 

Below are some insights into some of the ways they are working with employers and individuals to support their successful transition into the workplace, as well as examples of what Surrey Chambers are doing and how you can get involved. 

All Our Talents | Hampshire County Council 

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) have the same ambitions as their peers. They want to live fulfilling lives and have successful careers that directly afford them financial and social independence. With appropriate and targeted support, the great majority of young people with SEND can find equitable work and support employers to meet skills gaps. 


Hampshire County Council work in partnership with education partners to provide the skills, knowledge and experience for young people to prepare for the workplace through our Employability Hubs and Independence Hubs:  


SEND Employability and Independence Hubs | Hampshire County Council 


As a last step in education we advocate Supported Internships, which are structured study programmes primary based with an employer. They enable young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to achieve sustainable paid employment.  


Employers can engage in a ‘matching service’ to find the right person for the job, test them in the workplace, save money on recruitment costs while supporting their local community and diversifying the workforce. Watch the case study video below to learn more. 

Find out more: 

Supporting Businesses to employ disabled and autistic people in Surrey | Surrey Choices 

Nationally under 5% of people with learning disabilities are in paid work. Surrey are already doing well with nearly 13% of people with a learning disability in work, but it’s still not enough as 65% express a desire to find a paid job. 

Surrey Choices provides person-centred support from inspired and creative colleagues. Surrey Choices offer a number of routes into paid work and volunteering for adults and young people with additional needs, including work experience programmes, job clubs, work trials and career planning.  

Matching the right person to the right job is essential. We provide ongoing support to employers and employees supported into your workplace through the allocation of an Employment Support Specialist and have over 350 disabled job seekers each year looking for roles.  

Employers who have worked with us before to provide inclusive workplaces have said: 

These kinds of partnerships are really rewarding for everyone involved both managers, the employees and for us as a business we end up with real stars out of it, so everyone wins” 
Justine Locker, Operations Director Chessington World of Adventures  

Our team can support your business: 

  • to employ a more diverse and inclusive work force, reflective of your local community        
  • to recruit and retain hardworking, reliable employees who can meet your business needs        
  • with bespoke job matching for candidates to vacant positions within your company        
  • to identify and provide advice on any reasonable adjustments in recruitment practice, or job carving that may be necessary to ensure success and sustainability        
  • to create opportunities for staff development and empowerment, improving employee engagement for both existing and successfully matched employees        
  • by providing a job coach for successfully matched employees to support with any additional learning requirements relative to the role 
  • with training to enhance your organisations understanding of disability issues, supporting corporate vision, social value, and reputation  
  • to maintain a competitive edge and attract a diverse customer base  

Below are some videos to highlight some examples of some of our activities: 

Find out more: 

If you, or someone you know, would like more information about working with Surrey Choices EmployAbility: 

Visit Surrey Choices


Call 01483 806806 

Accessing Untapped Talent | Surrey Chambers of Commerce 

At Surrey Chambers of Commerce, we encourage our businesses to think outside the box. For example, considering employing people from a wider pool of talent. 

In Surrey there are around 12,000 autistic people, many of whom would love to be working but they find the application process a real barrier. Once they secure a job, they become key employees and contribute a great deal to the business. In addition, there is a great deal of support available to help employers to understand the kind of adjustments they may need to make. 

If you’d like to know more, sign up to one of our two upcoming ‘Untapped Talent’ events that will demonstrate some brilliant examples of employers and employees making adjustments for the benefit of both. During these events, you will also: 

  • have the chance to meet people who are working with autistic and other neurodivergent people to help them find a suitable job 
  • meet people who are delivering amazing results for their employer, in spite of earlier challenges in finding a role 
  • find out about advice and guidance, which is available for your organisation to build your confidence and enable you to more easily cast your net across a broader pool of talent! 

Find out more and book your place: 

Accessing Untapped Talent | Tuesday 30 January, 5-7pm | Login Lounge, Camberley (Click here to book)

Accessing Untapped Talent | Wednesday 6 March, 8-10am | Manor Collection, Reigate (Click here to book