PhD Studentship in the School of Social Work

Reference RS/13/19

Project Title: Increasing disabled people’s participation in employment

Applications are invited for a full-time PhD (via MPhil) studentship in the School of Social Work. The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years [subject to satisfactory progress] and will cover the cost of tuition fees at UK/EU rates. International applicants may apply but will be expected to pay the difference between the UK/EU and International Fee Rate. The successful applicant will start on 1 January 2014.

Project Description:

Increasing disabled people’s participation in employment is a stated national priority. There is however, incongruence between progressive rhetoric and the availability of support mechanisms to help secure vocational inclusion, and regressive outcomes that have accompanied these changes – increased policing and monitoring, alongside growing levels of stress and anxiety amongst some disabled people. While Supported Employment has consistently demonstrated positive outcomes, competing narratives disagree for instance on whether this agenda is primarily about reducing welfare dependency or promoting social justice and inclusion. Furthermore, ‘personalisation’ of social care based on individual funding, choice and participation in decision-making presents both threats and opportunities for disabled people as employers and employees. 

This project would provide an opportunity to scope a theoretical or practice-based study around this topic e.g: 

  • Disabled people’s experience of the drive towards employment and opinions about its impact on their lives;
  • Role of Social Services and social workers in supporting disabled people’s participation in the workforce;
  • Current policy as progressive or regressive, as enhancing or reducing disabled people’s rights and quality of life;
  • Disabled people’s experiences of, and satisfaction with supported self-employment;
  • Disabled people’s experiences of being employed as researchers in Higher Education;

For an informal discussion please contact Julie Ridley (Email or Telephone 01772 893402).

Requests for an application pack (quoting the reference RS/13/19) should be directed to the Graduate Research School Office by clicking on the Apply button below. Alternatively, Tel: 01772 893402 or email  

Closing Date: 4 November 2013

Proposed Interview Date: 20 November 2013

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