Pembroke Alumna featured on ‘Disability Power 100’ 2022 List


We are proud to introduce Beth Kume-Holland (2013, History) as the latest focus of our alumni success series. Beth is a consultant, speaker and advisor working to drive accessibility changes in work and recruitment. Recognising the impact of her work surrounding disability awareness and the workplace, Beth has been named in this year’s ‘Disability Power 100’ list as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK. Disappointed by the lack of disability support provided by employers and further education institutions, Beth created Patchwork Hub – a tech start-up working to change the narrative around accessible work and recruitment in the country.

Patchwork Hub is an accessible employment platform, training provider and consultancy, connecting employers to highly-skilled professionals who are looking for work opportunities outside the conventional 9 to 5 office job. The platform enables a hidden talent pool, from disabled people through to carers and parents, to find work and thrive. We spoke to Beth about her inspiration for Patchwork Hub:

"I founded the company after a difficult experience as a disabled graduate student at Harvard, which I attended as a Kennedy Scholar shortly after my time at Oxford. My experience at Harvard meant I got involved in disability advocacy work and ended up in Washington DC, meeting with Congressional Offices and Senators, to advocate for increased funding for patients with my conditions. It was during this work that I got the idea for Patchwork Hub. Sat around the table in a Senators’ office, I heard so many stories of highly-skilled people who were unemployed because of their health. They were struggling to fit into the accepted model of working, with unnecessary barriers, and a lack of flexibility and understanding leaving them excluded. And I realised this was a much wider problem - globally, millions of people are excluded from employment because there is no accessible or sustainable way for them to work. This made me think, what if I tried to create a social enterprise that fits the workplace around the needs of the individual? This sparked the foundation of Patchwork Hub."

When Patchwork Hub was first launched, Beth faced some resistance to the idea of normalising home-based and flexible working, despite it being a workplace alternative that benefitted an overlooked bracket of the UK’s workforce. But since the Covid-19 pandemic pushed employers to introduce measures to embrace socially distanced working, working from home has become widely accepted as a viable and effective option. Now, Patchwork Hub has grown from strength to strength in the UK, supporting both employers and employees to find the best solution for their workplace needs.

Beth chose Pembroke after first staying at the College whilst attending an access programme run by UNIQ. It was on this programme that she would first meet her future tutor, Professor Stephen Tuck, whose course on ‘History: Race and Protest’ sparked her interest in studying at Oxford as a History student. Her time at Pembroke not only erased her previous conceptions of Oxford as an inaccessible institution, but also cemented her love for the College and the supportive environment it fostered.

We asked Beth for her advice to current students:

"For those close to graduating and worrying about post-uni life, I’d say don’t feel rushed to go into what you think you should be doing. There is no right path to follow and often the path that may not be the most obvious or easiest to go down can take you to places you’d never imagine. I also wish that I had been kinder to myself when I was a student – making the most of Oxford’s vast opportunities is really important but be sure you take the time out to rest, recharge and try not to compare yourself to others. It’s important to remember that everyone has different circumstances and there are so many different paths and no single version of success in life."

Find more about Beth’s recent success and Patchwork Hub here:

Beth Kume-Holland - Shaw Trust Disability Power 100

Patchwork Hub’s LinkedIn

Beth’s Additional Services

Headshot of Beth Kume-Holland