It is a priority for this government to help disabled people get into mainstream jobs, and to ensure that everyone has the support they need to make this happen. One way that we achieve this is through the Work Choice programme, a voluntary disability employment programme that helps disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment find and stay in work.
Work Choice can help the most vulnerable disabled people to find the support they need, get into work and stay in work: in 2012/13 8,060 people found jobs through Work Choice prime providers, this increased to 10, 830 in 2013/14.
We have also extended the contracts with Residential Training Collegesuntil September 2015 to help some of the most disadvantaged disabled people into work. Options for subsequent provision for this group are being explored.
Clare, a Work Choice customer with Shaw Trust said, “Shaw Trust have been most helpful and supported me on my time on courses. Since starting work at Asda it has made a real impact on me as a person. I love the fact that everyone gets a chance to express and excel as an individual and still encourage and support each other as a team. I would recommend Shaw Trust to anyone.”
We always want to make it easier for disabled people to get into work. These are some of the new approaches we have been trialling this year:
The Psychological Wellbeing and Work feasibility pilotsare exploring the most promising and evidence-based approaches to improving the employment and health prospects of people with mental health problems. These include embedding Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services; using group work in employment services, testing online assessments and support and telephone-based combined psychological and employment-related support.
We have also been running a variety of pilots to offer more intensive support to ESA claimantsfrom Jobcentres, health professionals and the Work Programme.
In 2015, we will be launching the Personalisation Pathfinders to trial an enhanced specialist advisor role. Initially working with 18,000 people, specialist advisors will take a wider view of disabled people’s needs beyond unemployment. The pathfinders will also improve cross-agency working and the use of local specialist services to increase choice and control. The pathfinder will run for two years with a budget of £6.5 million.
Disability and Health Employment Strategy
Case Study: Work Choice
Samantha Hale was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has been on long tem incapacity benefit for over 20 years. On Work Choice, Sam attended weekly session with her job coach and began to use a computer, although at first she was unable to use a mouse. Her job coach created an email address for Sam and registered her for a Universal Jobmatch account.
Sam’s advisor set up a voluntary placement at The British Red Cross Shop in Haverford West. This placement was designed to give Sam some structure and get her building her working hours up to 16 per week. It was also an excellent opportunity for Sam to gain retail experience and have up to date experience of working as part of a team in a busy charity shop. The advisor then arranged an additional work placement at a local care home in Milford Haven for Sam to gain some cleaning experience with the view to making this paid employment for 16 hours per week.
Sam’s advisor negotiated with the owners of the home and turned the placement into 16 hours paid employment for Sam in December 2013.