NORTH Devon businesses learnt about Disability Confident, a national campaign launched by David Cameron, at an event organised by Pluss.
Pluss is a social enterprise that helps people with disabilities find work, and provides free support to businesses looking to gain a more diverse workforce.
North Devon MP Nick Harvey, who supported the event as a speaker, said: "As a nation we can't afford to write off the talent of the millions of disabled people of working age in the UK who want to work.
"We need a durable solution to finding ways of supporting disabled people into mainstream employment. It's clear from businesses we've heard speak tonight that organisations like Pluss and the Disability Confident campaign are key to this process."
Senior managers from local businesses which are already making great progress in employing disabled people also presented.
Sami Caglar, managing director at SFL Chimneys, said: "It is important to us as a business to be positive about disability because including people who are disabled in our selection pool helps us to find high calibre individuals that are committed. In our experience our disabled employees have been very flexible, keen to learn more and want to work. They have been reliable and shown real potential for the future.
"We are delighted to be involved in this event as it helps to remove preconceived ideas and promote the abilities that so many disabled people have to offer; in turn we hope this will open up more opportunities."
Graham Campbell, operations director at Atlas Packaging, said: "Everyone deserves a chance. Just because someone has a disability doesn't mean that they have nothing to offer; on the contrary, in our experience, they have a determination and commitment that can make a massive difference in the workplace.
"We feel that events such as these will highlight the benefits and give potential employers the confidence that a disability doesn't discount the individual."
The event enabled businesses to explore effective strategies for recruitment and retention of disabled employees. For details visit www.pluss.org.uk.