People in Hampshire with a disability or long-term medical condition are getting a boost back into work through the new Steps to Employment programme delivered from Enham Trust.
The charity’s initiative is offering tailored support, advice, and training to help jobseekers in Andover, Eastleigh, Southampton, Basingstoke and Farnborough to overcome health obstacles and get hired.
On offer is access to online courses, hands-on help with CV writing, and databases to help with job searching. Enham Trust will also support those who get a job to stay in work.
Through the variety of innovative services, the Specialist Employment Support programme helps participants develop vocational skills, the confidence to work, and stronger self-esteem.
It is hoped the programme, in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, will play a part in mitigating statistics which show that 46.3% of working-age disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people.
Pam Hall, Head of Employment & Skills at Enham Trust, said: “The Specialist Employability Support programme is a great opportunity for anyone with a disability or long term health condition to take those first steps into, or back into, work, improve their qualifications, and find the confidence to achieve their goals.
“Official statistics show the percentage of unemployed disabled people is much higher than that of non-disabled people. This highlights the importance of what Steps to Employment has to offer: to hopefully close the gap between disabled and non-disabled employment.
“When enrolling onto the Specialist Employability Support programme, dedicated staff will be available on a one-to-one basis offering professional advice and guidance. The programme may vary in length and intensity to suit each participant’s situation.
“It’s important to us to provide our customers with the best guidance and service. At Enham Trust, we strive to make a positive difference and encourage independent living.”
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, added: “The Government wants to see a continued rise in the number of disabled people who are working but some people will need tailored, and sometimes intensive, support for this to happen.
“The new programme is good news as it will help twice as many disabled people and will focus on those who need the most support to either find work or to be more prepared for work.”
Thirty-two year old Chris, from Hampshire, suffered from chronic arthritis in his knees and ankles. The pain became unbearable and he had to stop work as a graphic designer as he could hardly walk.
He was housebound and had to get about with the aid of a stick. His confidence and self-esteem plummeted, so he decided to complete the Residential Support programme, and now has a full-time job as an IT engineer with Fujitsu.
Chris said: “My confidence and self-esteem plummeted as I could no longer work and spent all my time at home. Then I joined the Enham Trust Residential Training programme and it gave me my confidence back.
“Mixing with other people facing similar problems really helped. With the help of a tutor I built up my CV and was supported in job searching and interview practice. We applied for up to three positions a week!
“I now have a full-time job as an IT engineer with Fujitsu and I couldn’t be happier!”
For further information about the Specialist Employment Support programme, visit www.stepstoemployment.co.uk or call 0808 100 3134.