New government figures show a record number of disabled graduates have been successful in a recruitment scheme that aims to find the future leaders of the Civil Service.
The Fast Stream annual report for the year to November 2009 shows that 92 of the 629 candidates offered jobs (nearly 15 per cent) were disabled people, a rise of two percentage points on 2008.
In 1998, there were just 12 disabled graduates taken on through Fast Stream, and in 2007 just 33.
Liz Sayce, chief executive of RADAR, welcomed the figures. She said: “The numbers recruited have gone up which suggests that they are identifying talented disabled people.
“This is great because for so long disabled people have been in the lower echelons of public service and not given the chance to get into the most senior roles.”
The report also reveals a slight fall in the total number of applications to Fast Stream from disabled graduates, from 738 in 2008 (5.1 per cent of total applications) to 697 in 2009 (4.7 per cent).
A Cabinet Office spokesman said it welcomed the rise in successful disabled applicants, which would help in its efforts to produce a more “diverse and representative workforce”.
He said efforts to increase the number of disabled applicants included a Fast Stream summer internship scheme, seen as a stepping stone for those seeking a career in the Civil Service.
But he said the Cabinet Office would “as a matter of course” examine why the number of disabled applicants fell slightly last year.
He also stressed that the freeze on Civil Service recruitment announced by the new coalition government last month would not apply to the Fast Stream scheme.