EY leaders take part in Aspire’s Wheelchair challenge
12 September 2016
EY leaders will take part in the Aspire Wheelchair Challenge this week (Thursday 15th September), which aims to help businesses understand the perspective of a disabled worker.
Eight non-disabled volunteers, including five from EY’s UK & Ireland leadership team, will spend their working day in a wheelchair, provided by the London Wheelchair service to raise funds for the spinal injury charity Aspire, at the firm’s London headquarters.
Maggie Stilwell, EY’s Managing Partner for talent, who will be taking part in the challenge said: “Creating an inclusive workplace is a top priority for us. We want our people to be confident about being themselves at work, so they can achieve their full potential.
“We hope the Aspire Wheelchair Challenge will help us to understand the perspective of a disabled person working at our offices, as well as prompting our people to think and talk about visible and invisible disabilities such as dyslexia, autism or mental ill-health.
“Disabled people have a great deal to offer our organisation; in addition to their professional skills they often have great strength and resilience. We want to challenge the perceptions of disability in the workplace, be a disability confident organisation and unlock the talent of those with disabilities or long-term health conditions across EY.”
Aspire, which provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury, came up with the Wheelchair Challenge as a way to make disability more visible in the workplace.
Yasmin Sheikh, an independent disability consultant, coach and trainer who works with Aspire to deliver the challenge and is a wheelchair user herself, said: “This initiative can seem uncomfortable – or even patronising for some – but we developed it to challenge that thinking; we all need to get over those feelings of discomfort about disability and start talking about it more.
“EY’s support of the wheelchair challenge will not only raise vital funds for Aspire, to help those with spinal injuries, it will help their employees to have a greater understanding of the challenges a wheelchair user faces on a daily basis.”
Adrian Gilchrist, a partner at EY, who is a wheelchair user added: “The Wheelchair Challenge is such a fantastic way to raise awareness, to help spread understanding of the daily practical challenges of people in wheelchairs at work and to support Aspire in their invaluable work.”