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Bua Consultancy: A company of creative change

This is an excerpt the original article was published on bua-consultancy.com

"The disabled community is incredibly skilled and diverse. We navigate the world differently. We have to think of creative solutions for issues we face because the world wasn’t built with us in mind. We constantly have to learn and adapt to best navigate our environments, which has led to many disabled and neurodiverse people being extremely creative, out of the box thinkers.

Yet the number of disabled and neurodiverse people currently employed in the UK is incredibly low. Those who find employment are pushed into menial, hourly paid jobs that offer little to no enrichment or diversity. The job market needs to be adapted to accommodate some genuinely unique talent that will otherwise go to waste.

Today, I sat down with Caitriona Snell, the founder and CEO of Bua Consultancy. Caitriona is determined to use her experience and knowledge to help create work environments where disabled people don’t just work, but thrive.

Lauren: Can you tell me a bit about your company Bua?                           


Caitriona: My name is Caitriona, and I’m the founder and director at Bua, a consultancy that aims to support more disabled and neurodiverse talent into salaried employment. We do that in two ways. For individuals, we offer free training, which currently focuses on the creative space. On the other side of the business, we support them to be more inclusive, specifically to disabled and neurodiverse talent. We work with them to identify problem areas for existing employees or candidates.

We’re working at a systematic level, changing what companies are doing and the culture that companies have. We help companies to be more inclusive, so that they will have all the tools they need to succeed. So, when disabled and neurodiverse talent enters into a company, it’s going to be retained by that business and that person is actually going to thrive.

We’re also supporting individuals, maybe if they had a barrier to education or weren’t able to get a tangible qualification, we can help with that by offering free training.

At Bua, we always try and exclusively work with either first-hand or second-hand lived experience people.  


What made you want to create Bua?

                                   

I know there’s debate around what lived experience is for disability and neurodiversity. I have two autistic brothers, and I consider that to be lived experience, although I would never say I have first-hand lived experience. I’ve watched both of them, who are both so different, navigate education and the world. It’s a driving force for me. It’s a mission for me to support the disabled and neurodiverse community.

I also completed a post graduate course in social innovation and entrepreneurship and then specialised in disabled and neurodiverse inclusion. I worked at a ‘special educational needs and disability’ (SEND) college and I helped set up more work experience for their students. That was really fun, and the students were really cool. Then I also worked on a different project where we supported young people in east London to access employment in the city. So yeah, both of those things drove me towards looking at employment inclusion and then with my personal experience, I ended up forming Bua.

What is the company’s ethos or goals?

We specifically have a mission that drives towards social inclusion and equality. The primary goal is to have an equal percentage of disabled and neurodiverse people to non-disabled and neurotypical people working in salaried employment. In the UK the stats are so ridiculously low at the moment, that I think the only way is up really.  

What I didn’t see was support for disabled and neurodiverse candidates into salaried employment outside of tech and consultancy. I felt like that was really unfair because neurodiverse and disabled people are still a diverse group. Not everyone is interested in tech and coding and maths.

The creative industries are very famously not diverse especially for disabled and neurodiverse people. I love creative projects and exploring creativity, and I was interested in the hypothesis of teaching creativity.

The salaried and creative work all ties together to drive Bua’s mission. With salaried work its more supportive for people who have medical conditions, or you have other commitments, salaried employment is more stable for those people.

The mission statement is ultimately supporting people into sustainable long-term employment."

 

Bua Consultancy: A company of creative change

January 2022

An interview with Bua’s founder Caitriona (Cat) Snell about the ethos of Bua.

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