Residents with a disability will receive more support to get a job and expand their horizons with a new partnership between the council and local social enterprise, Pluss.
People with a learning or physical disability, autism or mental health needs, will receive bespoke support to search for jobs, get and retain employment.
The assistance ranges from CV creation, work experience, establishing how to get to the workplace and navigate public transport, as well as developing skills, confidence and tailored support in the work environment.
The council has a legal duty under the Care Act to facilitate employment and volunteering opportunities to people with disabilities, and other vulnerable adults, and has awarded a three-year contract to Pluss from 1 April.
Pluss’ ethos builds on people’s strengths and aspirations to develop skills and open up opportunities of training, voluntary roles and paid employment. They also offer job coaching to ensure jobs are sustainable and that each individual can progress in their chosen career
The social enterprise will also make connections with employers to raise the agenda of employing people with disabilities and championing the skills and benefits this will bring to their workplace. Often this includes looking beyond what is being advertised and carving out job roles based on specific employer requirements
Increasing the number of people in employment positively impacts many areas of an individual’s life improving self-worth and contributing to their community.
The work will broaden residents’ aspirations to reach their potential by building independence, life skills, a network of friends and a resilience which may not have existed before employment.
Councillor Peter Wharf, portfolio holder for social care and health, said:
“Some people have little or no aspirations which Pluss can unlock. Alternatively, others have the aspiration but do not know how to achieve it.
“The service will help people with practical advice and support from navigating a bus or train timetable, the etiquette of getting on a bus, like having the money ready, to what is expected in a place of work.
“This contract will see people grow and become the best they can be and encourage businesses to get involved by assisting with easy read documents for example which can be a barrier for some people before they even start.
“This contract with employability specialists, Pluss, will empower people to change their lives.”
“We are absolutely delighted to be working with Dorset Council to help more people into employment across the county and firmly believe that with the right support, there is a job out there for everyone.
“We are looking forward to working with local communities and employers alike, both of whom will both benefit greatly from the wealth of skills and talents that so many disabled people bring to the workforce every day”.
The council has also developed a Pathway to Employment initiative offering four apprenticeships with the support of Pluss.
The new partnership aims to improve the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework ratings for people with a learning disability or mental health needs in paid employment, which in 2019/2020 was below average in the southwest region and nationally.
Previous support was only accessible to adults with a learning disability so the new service is expanding the number of people who can be assisted to include people with Care Act eligible needs.
The residents who will be supported by Pluss will be referred by the council’s Adult Social Care Teams. Young people who transition to adulthood will also qualify for the support to get into the world of work.