Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New program in Britain aims to find work for disabled people

From The Telegraph in the UK:

More than twenty thousand people with severe disabilities are to be helped to find work each year following the launch of a new programme.

The scheme, called “Work Choice” will bring together more than 200 separate organisations providing work for the disabled.

They will be replaced by 28 regional bodies, which will receive Government contracts to get a combined total of around 23,000 disabled people into work each year.

The Work Choice programme is run on a voluntary basis, with any disabled person who meets the physical criteria of the scheme able to take part.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said that Work Choice had been developed in close consultation with disability groups, and people with a variety of disabilities.

Those taking part will have support tailored to their physical needs. As well as finding jobs, the scheme will help the disabled to prosper in their careers and stay in work in the long term.

Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People, said: "We must remove the barriers disabled people face to getting into mainstream employment. It is right that everyone has the opportunity to compete in the job market.

“Work is the best way out of poverty and we know over one million disabled people currently on benefits want to work. We must give people the support they need to do this.

“Work Choice will ensure people facing the biggest barriers to work get the intensive support they need.”

In 24 areas, Work Choice will be run through the Remploy Employment Service, which also provides subsidised factories employing disabled people.

Grants to Remploy are due to be reduced as part of the Government’s austerity drive, but the employment part of the firm has been saved.

The 54 current Remploy factories are projected to make losses of £138.6 million this year.

When the previous, Labour, government proposed shutting factories, there were mass demonstrations and protests. In the events, 29 factories were shut, but there were no compulsory redundancies.