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Ability programme

Shortlisted for the 2020 THE Awards  in the category of: Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Birkbeck is committed to being a truly inclusive environment in which all staff and students are treated fairly and with respect, and where diversity is championed. 


At Birkbeck we want to ensure that our disabled students and recent graduates have access to useful, tailored careers advice and work experience so they can find meaningful work and successfully enter and remain in the workplace. To achieve this, the Birkbeck Futures Careers Team works closely with colleagues in the Disability and Dyslexia Service and other Student Services. 

The Ability Programme is a dedicated course for students and recent graduates with a disability, neurodiverse or long-term health condition, who want advice finding a job they will love, supercharging job applications and the opportunity to connect with Disability Confident employers looking for talented people.

Information for students

  • The Ability Programme includes a series of disability skills and employment workshops, an e-learning programme designed for those undertaking the programme, networking opportunities with Disability Confident employers, podcasts, and the opportunity to apply for funded work placements supported by The Ian Karten Charitable Trust.
  • In addition, our experienced career consultants are on hand to offer you one-to-one career advice and answer any questions you have throughout the year as well as on dedicated Ability Programme one-to-one days.
  • To join the 2021/22 academic year Ability Programme, or if you have any questions about the programme, please .


  • From October 2021 to March 2022, we will run workshops to help you progress your career potential and build your social capital, covering topics such as applying for work with a disability, disclosure, confidence building, resilience, communicating your unique abilities and strengths, networking, personal branding and much more.
  • We will also be featuring a new series of podcasts/events called “My Story” where we invite compelling speakers to spread the message of ability and inclusion by sharing their unique journeys. Dates TBC.
  • There is also the opportunity to connect with alumni and employers through dedicated employer-led sessions and employer panels. These enable employers to highlight their expertise, their inclusive organisations and recruitment practices, as well the opportunities available for those with a disability, neurodiverse or long-term health conditions.
  • We are currently putting together the schedule for the new academic year 2021/22 and dates will be added throughout the summer leading up to the start of term and throughout the academic year. 
  • Autumn term
    • What is disability? Introduction to the Ability Programme 
    • Confidence building workshop
    • Dedicated Ability Programme one-to-one sessions day
    • CVs, cover letters and personal statements workshop 
    • Employer panel
    • Resilience and mindset workshop
    • Change 100 award-winning programme of paid summer work placements and mentoring for disabled students and recent graduates
  • Spring term
    • Openness statements workshop
    • Dedicated Ability Programme one-to-one sessions day
    • Personal branding and crafting your elevator pitch workshop
    • Networking online and offline workshop
    • Virtual networking café
    • Employer panel
    • Dedicated Ability Programme one-to-one session day
  • Once events open for booking, if you require any adjustments for the sessions (e.g. captions, off-white slides, slides in advance), please  at least two working days in advance so that we have time to implement them for you.

Information for employers and organisations

  • Birkbeck Futures Career Service is committed to working closely with the business community to champion social inclusion and create positive change. Birkbeck was mentioned as an example of best practice in the 2021 Policy Connect All Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology's report Talent and Technology: Building bridges to employment for disabled people.
  • As an employer, wherever you are on your disability journey, imagine the world in 2030, fully inclusive of persons with disabilities. If your organisation is Disability Confident or perhaps working to become more inclusive, or if you are working towards implementing UN Sustainable Goals, supporting the Ability Programme is one way you can support #Envision2030 to transform the world for people with disabilities. 
  • Ways to work with the Ability Programme
    • Working with the Ability Programme is a fantastic way to showcase your organisation's talent brand to disabled candidates in a meaningful and impactful way.
    • There are many ways you can support what we do, delivering workshops, insight events, participating on employer panel events, supporting one-to-one days with sector-specific CVs, cover letter reviews, mock interviews and offering informational interviews.
    • As a career service, Birkbeck Futures is very holistic and agile, and we are open to innovative ideas you may have as well.
  • Work placements
  • Roundtable event
    • There will be a Summer 2022 roundtable event to which everyone who has helped us deliver the Ability Programme will be invited.
  • Contact