New employment service set to increase numbers of disabled people in work

A new Yorkshire-based employment service plans to dramatically increase the number of disabled people who secure employment.

Andrew McDonald © Pete Jones [email protected]

The service - Kickstart - will support disabled people who are looking for jobs through workshops and interview preparation skills.

The Government has pledged to get a million more disabled people into work over the next 10 years

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However, according to the national disability charity Scope, disabled people are dropping out of work faster than they are moving into it.

A Scope spokesman said: “There are a million disabled people in the UK who can and want to work but face too many barriers to getting jobs

“Only half of working-age disabled people in Yorkshire and the Humber are employed, compared to four in five non-disabled people.”

“Employers’ negative attitudes to disability are one of the barriers disabled jobseekers face, but those businesses are missing out on tapping into a wealth of talent and potential.”

The new disability employment service was launched in Leeds at its new home in No 1 Leeds, Whitehall Road.

Andrew McDonald, Chair of Trustees at Scope, said: “We’re delighted to be opening Kickstart in Leeds and have the opportunity to make a lasting difference to disabled people’s lives.

“Many disabled people can and want to work but come up against obstacles time and time again. Tailored employment support has been proved to make an enormous difference. Our customers tell us it has boosted their confidence and been life-changing.

“Their experiences shape what we do, and there is no one size fits all approach, which is what makes Scope’s employment services so successful.”

Scope currently runs two Kickstart services in London, but the new Leeds service will become the first of its kind outside the capital.

Of the 410 customers who accessed Scope’s employment services last year, 95 per cent reported that they had moved closer to finding a job.

Scope hopes Kickstart will build on the success of Starting Line, a pre-employment service which has been run by the charity in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

A spokesman said: “Starting Line Calderdale has seen massive success since it opened, with 91 per cent of participants choosing to go into either employment, work placements, education or training.

The service is available for working age people in Calderdale who are disabled or have a health condition and are looking for support to access work based skills, training or employment.

To join Kickstart in Leeds [email protected] or call 0113 357 0330.

To join Starting Line in Calderdale, email starting [email protected], or complete an online application form and one of the Scope team will be in touch.

Michael Roberts, 57, is now working as a driver for Community Transport in Calderdale, after attending Starting Line.

Michael, who has depression, oedema and COPD, said: “The course I did at Scope was one of the best things I’ve done. I really wanted to go back to work, but after 13 years away some aspects were quite daunting.

“Starting Line gave me loads of useful advice about how the interview process has changed – it was a massive confidence boost and helped me feel much better prepared.”