State of Gloucestershire - Housing booklet cover.

State of Gloucestershire: Employment

Our State of Gloucestershire Research

In 2021, Barnwood’s Insights team carried out a research project called the State of Gloucestershire. Over 260 disabled people and people with mental health conditions living in Gloucestershire responded to a survey. The survey asked about their experiences of accessing a range of opportunities and the quality and accessibility of their housing.

We have produced a series of booklets, each on a specific topic, which include the survey findings and relevant findings from research conducted by others. The booklets also include recommendations for organisations and providers which have been drawn from the findings.


Key findings

Our survey findings indicate that disabled people and people with mental health conditions living in Gloucestershire face a range of barriers to accessing work opportunities. Only one in four of the survey respondents told us that they can do the type of paid work they would like to do. The most frequently reported barriers to accessing paid work opportunities were:

  • ‘My health (e.g. my disability means I need a lot of rest)’
  • ‘I don’t feel confident enough’
  • And ‘It’s difficult for me to travel to places’.

The respondents also told us what would help them to take part in paid work. More than half of the respondents (51%) said that the option to work flexibly was one of the three enablers they would find most helpful. Inclusive employment practices, being able to easily find information about what work is available and having lots of choice of work they could do were also identified as key enablers.

Our findings reflect the social model of disability. Although respondents reported experiencing barriers to paid work, we also heard that if conditions within society were changed these barriers could begin to be addressed.



Based on our survey findings and our review of research conducted by others, we recommend the following actions to make employment opportunities more accessible to disabled people and people with mental health conditions:

Engage symbol. Icons for 3 people linked together in a faintly coloured circle, with a circle.

  • Engagement: Proactively and directly engage with disabled people and people with mental health conditions to understand how to improve access to meaningful employment opportunities and workplace support. Co-production and co-design can help ensure that information produced about employment is accessible.

Inform symbol. An "I" symbol sits in a middle of a circle.

  • Accessible information: Provide clear and accessible information about employment opportunities and workplace support in a range of formats and via multiple channels, along with the option for in person contact. Accessible information provision should consider all the useful information that might be provided to enable real choice.

Choice Symbol. A hand points to one of four options in a circle.

  • Choice: Take proactive steps to ensure real choice is available and accessible to disabled people and people with mental health conditions about employment opportunities. Choice is more than just a greater range of options, it’s about making sure that what’s currently on offer is accessible to everyone.


Opportunities to take action

Barnwood is currently offering the following opportunities that may help organisations to implement these recommendations:

  • As part of the Empowered Employers campaign, Barnwood is running a series of workshops for employers. Further details of these learning opportunities can be found here.
  • The Empowered Employers campaign website resources page and social media channels include useful information for employers. For the website please click here.
  • Barnwood’s Learning Programme includes a Clear Communications workshop. Details of upcoming workshops can be found here.

To download the full Employment Booklet please click on the image below.

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Accessible formats

We have produced the Employment booklet in a range of different accessible formats. We will be doing the same for all of the booklets as part of the State of Gloucestershire reports.


British sign language symbolBritish Sign Language (BSL) translation


Symbol of video play buttonSubtitled video of the report being read by one of our Researchers


Audio versionAudio recording of the report being read by one of our Researchers


Lady holding Easy Read documentEasy Read version to read or download


Large print version to read or download


If you would like to have a conversation about taking the recommendations drawn from this research forward, please contact Roz Warden (Head of Insights) on or 01242 539935