Could the Guaranteed Interview Scheme open the door to your dream role?

If you’re a disabled job candidate, you might have faced challenges that non-disabled candidates haven’t, from lack of disabled access or employers nervous about how to support disabled staff, to assumptions about your ability to do the job.

According to a report by the UK Parliament, people with disabilities – visible or invisible – make up 24% of the UK population. Yet in 2023 only 54% of disabled individuals aged 16 to 64 years were in employment compared with 82% of non-disabled people.

At Brook Street we’re committed to diversity, and that includes inclusive hiring. We firmly believe that embracing diverse perspectives and experiences leads to extraordinary outcomes. As a testament to this dedication, our Guaranteed Interview Scheme offers qualified candidates from underrepresented groups a chance to interview with us, enhancing their prospects of securing suitable roles within the public sector.

This means we guarantee to interview all disabled candidates who meet all the essential criteria for our public sector vacancies.

One candidate who found their public sector job through Brook Street’s Guaranteed Interview Scheme is Natasha Siddique. In this interview we talk to Natasha about job hunting when you have a disability, her experience with Brook Street, her employer, and what she wishes organisations knew about disabled job seekers.

Hi Natasha, could you please tell us a bit about your pre-employment experience? For example, did you take part in any higher education? How long did you spend looking for a job and what is your previous employment history, if any?

After leaving college, I did not go into further higher education as I felt like that was not the route for me. I simply did not enjoy the typical education route and found I learned best through experience. As I left college right at the beginning of COVID, it did take a while to find a job, however there was a lot of resources and mini courses to help me find the roles I was looking for.

Before going to Brook Street, I worked with Nottingham City Council in the coroner’s office and also for HMRC, taking on administrative roles in both workplaces. Administrative work is what I’ve always looked for as I feel most comfortable with this work with my disability.

Diving straight into work at a very young age with little previous experience, I did struggle a lot in the beginning with learning new skills, speaking up when I needed help and fitting in with colleagues around me as there was an age gap. However, as time went on and I gained more experience, knowledge and confidence, my skills started improving and I didn’t hesitate as much to ask for help.

Please tell us about the job you’re doing now and what made you apply for it?  

I’m currently working for His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) as a court usher. This entails setting up court rooms, liaising with court users such as judiciary, public, barristers, solicitors, witnesses etc., sitting in during court hearings, and admin duties such as inbox enquiries, printing bundles and filing.

There were many reasons I applied for this job: I already had experience in the civil service and wanted to expand my horizons. I’ve always had a keen interest in court settings and civil service being part of the operational delivery sector, I feel like I’m making a contribution to the government. Another factor that attracted me to this role was dealing with people face to face, whereas in my previous roles I was communicating with people via telephone − I have found that I really enjoy speaking to people face to face!

What feedback, support and communication did you receive from Brook Street throughout the process?

I received a lot of support, communication, and feedback from Brook Street throughout my interview and onboarding process! When I first applied for the court usher role, Debbie, my interviewer, really paid attention to my interview answers and previous experience and recommended me for a similar role in HMCTS that was a better fit with my background than the role I had originally applied for. I could see that she really cared about finding the role best suited for me, my needs, and my background history.

I also received a lot of communication throughout the onboarding process. If I had any issues with submitting my documents to Brook Street, they were really understanding and helped wherever they could.

What do you wish employers would know about candidates with disabilities?

That there is way more to us than our disabilities! We don’t let our disabilities define who we are. We still have our own goals and achievements at the end of the day − the same as everyone else. We have a variety of skills and if given the opportunity, we’re confident we’d be able to achieve well for ourselves. We want to be seen as more than just ‘someone with a disability’, we want to be seen and acknowledged for our achievements.

What support have you received from the court?

I have received an immense amount of support from the court, not only from my manager but also my colleagues, especially with my disability. My colleagues are always asking me if there is anything they can do to help me. This has made me comfortable asking for help, even though I’m someone who has hated asking for help from a young age, as it always made me feel dependent.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still in a Civil Service Role, hopefully having done a Level 3 Operational Delivery Apprenticeship and working my way up. I wouldn’t mind still being with HMCTS, or in a different Civil Service role. Either way, I’m certain that I’d still like to see myself in Civil Service five years from now.

What tips and advice would you give to candidates with a disability when looking for a job?

When applying for job roles previously, I always used to feel uncomfortable with going the disability scheme route as I wanted to be seen beyond my disability and for my skills and experience − I never wanted to feel like I was given ‘special treatment’ and that I had only been offered a job due to my disability. However, as time went on, I realised this wasn’t the case and that although my disability may have gotten me the interview, it was my skills and experience that allowed me to succeed. So, to any candidates who are hesitant going through the Guaranteed Interview Scheme for this reason, I would say whether the interview gets you the job or not, the more interviews you experience, the more confident you will be. After that the job offer will only be a bonus!


If you identify as a candidate with a disability and meet all the essential criteria for roles we are advertising as part of the public services framework, please reach out to us via email at [email protected], providing the role’s navigation link and your qualifications and one of our team will be in touch.

You can read more about the Guaranteed Interview Scheme here, and find out more about our work as a Disability Confident Leader Organisation here. While you’re on our website, why not browse all our open roles?