Why has there never been a disabled candidate in the Apprentice?

The Apprentice is back on television screens for its 10th series but there has never been a visibly disabled person in the programme. Why?

Why has there never been a disabled candidate in The Apprentice?Over the years The Apprentice has ensured an incredibly diverse group of candidates.

There’s always been a 50/50 gender split between men and women and a broad range of religions, sexualities, races and social backgrounds.

But disabilities do not get the same level of representation in the programme, there has never been a wheelchair user, deaf person or any visibly disabled person in the ten series.

With news that Conservative minister Lord Freud was recorded saying some disabled people were “not worth” the minimum wage, and at a time when many disabled people are being encouraged into work, it is arguably more important than ever that disabled people are given an opportunity to show they can be good workers who can compete in the jobs market.

“The truth is that there are loads of successful disabled businesspeople out there, and The Apprentice should be reflecting that,” says Kath Sutherland, who runs START Ability Services, a business that gives advice to disabled entrepreneurs.

Disabled candidate more likely to be self employed than non-disabled people 

The Apprentice’s aim is to pick out the best entrepreneurs from around the UK but employment figures show that disabled people are more likely to be self-employed than non-disabled people – 17% compared with 14% respectively, so the numbers are there.

Disabled people are more likely to be self-employed than non-disabled people

Susan Scott-Parker, chief executive of the Disability Business Forum, says this should be reflected in a programme such as The Apprentice.

“Having a visibly disabled person represented on The Apprentice could only have a positive impact on wider perceptions of disabled people in the workplace,” she says. “With disabled people constituting more than 19% of Britain’s working-age population, it would send a message that disability should never be a barrier to a successful career.”

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Further information and Guidance on Disability

Disability in the Workplace – The Law

Disability Discrimination