The new Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, has announced today that long-term unemployed disabled people will be able to work with a dedicated key worker to help them find employment and stay in work. The support will come from a new £40 million fund and is expected to benefit 10,000 people across the country. 

Many disabled people have complex barriers that prevent them from entering and staying in work. Participants of the voluntary scheme will receive support for up to 21 months, and those who are successful in getting a job will benefit from a 6-month in-work support programme.  

The scheme will focus on improving the participants’ independence, confidence and motivation. This is something we’ve already been doing for a long time here at the Growth Company. We deliver specialist services in partnership with a range of organisations and agencies for individuals who may face the greatest challenges in entering or returning to work. Through the work of these various contacts we have helped 2,759 disabled people into work Between 2017-2018.  

Work Choice which is coming to an end is one of the contributing contracts. It wasa voluntary Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) employment programme designed specifically for people who, due to their disability, may find it difficult to find or keep a job. 

Through Work Choice, we helped people to find and retain work by identifying their needs and providing the necessary support to meet those needs. For many of our participants, it was a stepping stone to full unsupported employment. 

Another programme we deliver is Working Well (Work & Health Programme) which supports people with health conditions and disabilities into work. Each participant is assigned a key worker-a dedicated specialist that will help the person move into work at their own pace. This key worker can also offer support for skills, health, housing and local government services.  

Working Well participants have access to vacancies with local and national employers, who we work with to explain their individual situation and help the employer make the right adjustments to job opportunities to support their circumstances. 

We offer one-to-one sessions and participants can choose where they want to meet. For example, a coffee shop, community centre or local library. Assistance with journey planning is available and we also fund their travel. We understand that many of the people we work with struggle with wellbeing; so we offer our participants physical and mental health support, smoking cessation and weight management support. 

Once our participants achieve employment, we offer an option for them to still receive support as we understand that their problems don’t disappear because they have a job. They can benefit from a dedicated in-work advisor that helps them to create a tailored work plan, focusing on wage, work and personal progression. 

As well as this we also offer, Salford Health Works which is an integrated service that supports clients to make positive and lasting changes to their lifestyle, which includes health and wellbeing support along with helping them move into employment.  

We’re proud to be making a real difference to the lives of disabled people across Greater Manchester every day, and it’s great to see that funding for similar support is going to be made nationwide.