Andy Martin and Sarah Bailey - smallSeven years ago Andy Martin, 44, from Mawnan Smith near Falmouth, had two strokes and a cardiac arrest which left him hospitalised for five months and with lifelong speech and sight impairments.

Andy, who had previously been an Operations Manager at a book factory, was initially unable to speak and didn’t think he would ever get back into paid work.

Fast forward to 2014 and Andy is celebrating his first paid job as a Café Assistant at the family run Cornish Maid Café in Mawnan Smith. He is a likeable, hardworking and highly respected member of the team and the local community.

Andy told us “I was in hospital for five months. I had to learn to speak again from scratch. I ended up going home to live with my Mum and Step-Dad here in Mawnan Smith.

“My confidence really went down hill. I didn’t like meeting people because I am very conscious of my speech and I became quite secluded. I also wear glasses with a frosted lens so I don’t see double.

“I didn’t think I would ever get back into work. I did want to but because of my speech I felt I couldn’t as I find it hard to communicate.”

Andy then discovered Pluss, a local Social Enterprise who has helped over 800 disabled people into work across Cornwall.

“Pluss could see the potential in me. I did some employability training and got advice on how to find a job. They helped me with my CV and to look for a job.

“This is my first job since I have had my stroke and it feels really good. Now I get out and about and I’m sure it’s because I work here. I know more people. I have a reason to get up in the morning. I think I’ve got more confidence and I am not as conscious as I used to be about my voice.”

Sarah Bailey, owner of the Cornish Maid Café is delighted with her new employee.

“Andy is very likeable, funny and has a positive attitude. He is punctual, willing and he chats to all the customers. They ask ‘Where’s Andy today?’ which just shows the response he gets from people.

“I first met Andy when he and his Pluss consultant used to meet here in the café. Andy then asked me for a job. I thought Andy was so young to have had a stroke and could see through this; after all a stroke could happen to anyone and everyone deserves a chance. If people don’t get given a chance then there’s no hope for any of us. So I said yes.

“Having Andy here has made a big difference to the business. It has also made us think differently about things; life in general. My Mum loves working with him and they work really well as a team. Andy also delivers lunch to a 93 year old in the village and it’s good that he helps me to help other people.

“I have really seen Andy’s confidence increase during his time here. He is smiling all the time now. I try and make him do that bit more; he’ll say no and I’ll say yes! I am keen for him to do lots of courses and to really push him forwards.”

Andy adds “I used to play rugby and now I am back in contact with my old friends. I recently ran 5k in the Mawnan Smith Fun Run where I raised over £600 for the Stroke Association. I have also just completed my Level 2 Food Hygiene and First Aid.”

“My whole family has helped me so much through this. I feel I am one of the lucky ones though because I have seen people who have had strokes that have no feeling in their arms. I live independently now although Mum still helps me with my finances, cleaning and ironing. I also love a game of golf with my Dad.”

Emily Smith, 30, works as an Asda Ace Janitor for City Facilities (at Asda) in Paignton.
Emily is a good natured, warm and quiet lady who is incredibly conscientious in her work. Emily has a learning disability. She told us
“I enjoy my work; its fun meeting new people and I like the customers. It is nice and sometimes we are very busy.
“My disability means I find spellings, reading and time difficult. I also get very anxious about things. I worry about meetings and I get very nervous at interviews.
“I didn’t do anything before I worked here. It has been about five years since I had paid work and not having a job was very boring; just sitting around. I had a couple of interviews but I find them very difficult.
“Pluss helped me with my CV, applications, interviews and training such as Health and Safety, Fire and Manual Handling. They also helped me build my confidence.
“When I got offered the job here, I was jumping around at home. I wrote Steve a thank you card for choosing me.
“This job is fun. It feels fine to be earning and I am very proud. I like to be independent, busy and I am more confident now. I feel pleased with myself. Even my Mum says my cleaning has improved at home.
Soon I will be moving out to my own home. I always wanted to live independently and working has really helped me make this step. My husband is so pleased I have paid work.”
Emily’s boss, Steve Wilde, Store Cleaning Manager at City Facilities (in partnership with Asda) said “The difference in Emily since she started here is huge – she always knows where she is meant to be. Her reading and writing have improved and her timing is spot-on; we have to complete tasks within timescales and Emily uses her talking watch to monitor her timings.
“Emily applied competitively to Asda using the Jobcentre Plus application process. Pluss had contacted me beforehand to ask if they could come along to support her at interview and explain the help they could offer.
“We also interviewed three other candidates but I had a gut feeling about Emily and I offered her the job on the spot. I felt that she had a will to work and as long as that is there everything else is fixable. I felt Emily was worth investing in as she was the right person for the job. As they say, from little acorns grow big oaks. Its just about giving someone a chance and Emily is making a big difference.
“She is conscientious, willing, reliable, punctual and fine with customers. She is also honest, trustworthy and good example to other colleagues around timekeeping and attendance. Many people could take a leaf out of Emily’s book!
“When she started, Pluss were able to offer a month’s job coaching to help Emily learn the new job and settle in. They also helped visualise our paperwork and training with photos. We made Emily’s crib sheet visual by taking photos around the store – a list wouldn’t have worked.
“Now Pluss come in regularly, we sit down and look forward. I know I can call them at anytime, particularly if Emily is anxious or worried about things.
“And certainly, Emily’s thank you card when we offered her the job was the first I have ever had! “

Chris Oliver was seven years old when he was knocked over by a motorbike which left him in a coma, initially unable to walk and talk, and with a lifelong acquired brain injury. His family were told by medical professionals that he may never be able to hold down a job or work full-time.

Chris, however, had other ideas! Chris, now 22, is a General Porter with Serco at Derriford Hospital. His amazing ability to communicate with people has resulted in him winning four awards for outstanding patient care.

Chris has recently won Serco’s ‘Outstanding Newcomer’, ‘Employee of the Month’ and ‘Star’ awards, Pluss’ ‘Achiever of the Year 2014’ award, and was also a finalist in Serco’s national Star Awards.

Chris told us “My job involves delivering breakfast supplies to the wards, taking people down to the x-ray department and taking equipment around the wards.

“I love my job. I am very good at talking to people. I just like hearing the different stories people have to tell. When I pick a patient up, I find they talk to me.. When I am taking a patient somewhere in a wheelchair I say, if I’m going too fast, let me know. I say ‘I used to be fast but now I am old, I’m 22’, and they laugh. It makes their journey around the hospital easier.

“I’m hard working, always willing to stay on and help out. I’m always prepared to try my best at everything and am always half an hour early for every shift. I do find making plans difficult so I use calendars and cork boards to prompt my memory. I also carry a notepad so I know what I am doing.”

Despite his charm and popularity, life has not always been easy for Chris.

“My disability has affected me over the years. When I was younger, I would say silly things. At first, I thought I made people laugh then I got the sense that people were laughing at me, not with me. I used to get bullied, called names, even assaulted on the bus. I thought they were my friends. They used to say things about my scar so I started to grow my hair longer.

“I didn’t like loud noise and had one-to-one help at school. I would get distressed if things didn’t go according to plan. Mum would plan the day ahead for me but if it was changed I would get upset. I used to get really down. I’d forget things and get very angry with myself. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do things.

Chris was supported into work by Social Enterprise, Pluss, who have helped over 500 people with disabilities and health conditions into work across Plymouth.

“I am much more confident now I am in work. I started here in July 2013 but it was a six month temporary contract. I was really happy but I was on a mission to show them what I was worth. I was determined and did extra shifts. Then in December I was offered a permanent contract. This was my first ever full-time permanent job and I felt that all the hard work had finally paid off. I went out for a meal to celebrate with my family.

“When I was nominated for the Serco awards I was surprised but pleased that I was achieving something with my hard work. I was in the lift and could see a gentleman struggling. He stumbled, so I insisted he sit down and took him to the ward personally. Someone was watching and said to my boss ‘I don’t know who that young man is but his manners are impeccable’. I have also had letters thanking me for being a gentleman; polite, considerate and caring.”

Louise Pelley, Front of House Co-ordinator at Serco is over the moon. She said “Chris is an ideal employee; enthusiastic, always willing to try new things and to help anyone no matter what time of the day – he could be about to clock off but he would rather stay to help. He is always on time, never late.

“Chris is just so friendly to everyone. If a patient is upset, shouting or abrupt, Chris always manages to calm them down. He has a real gift with people and having an employee like Chris makes the hospital a more positive place. Patients come in and get this lovely young chap to take them to their appointments – it changes the way people think, the perception is positive and we get really good feedback. He is such a lovely guy, really passionate about the work he does.

“Our Serco slogan is ‘Bringing service to life’. Chris does this every day – he is bubbly, outgoing and always willing to go the extra mile – every day, not just sometimes.”

Chris adds “Working has changed my life in so many ways. I get up every morning, I can say ‘I’ve got to go to work tomorrow, I work at Derriford’. I am proud of myself. I’m not going to stop now; I am going to continue to make people happy and show what I can do. I don’t ever want to sit at home; I want to show people that even with an acquired brain injury, I can do this.

“I was here, at this hospital, 15 years ago and this job is my way of giving something back. Derriford saved my life and I now I can make a little difference to people’s lives in return.”

Four months after finishing college, Chris was having difficulty finding regular work and had been doing odd jobs for friends and neighbours to help him get by.
What Chris really wanted was a full-time outdoor job, preferably working alongside other people. Everyone agreed that Chris was a hard worker and was very reliable but there just seemed to be a shortage of opportunities for him locally.
Finally, Chris’ luck changed when Stonewood Builders, a well-established high-end building company in Chippenham, notified Pluss of a labouring job on a large renovation project just a few miles from his home.
Pluss supported Chris at an interview with the employer and he was offered full-time work which involved working alongside the skilled tradespeople on the renovation and restoration of an old Georgian rectory in a Cotswold village.
Chris, who has a learning disability, loves his new job and has settled well into the team on site. He has even mastered his fear of heights and is now able to work on scaffolding.
Chris says “I like being busy all day and having a laugh with the team. I have also learned new things like mixing up mortar and enjoy working with the brickies and carpenters, cutting wood and using tools. I am a lot more confident now.”
Stonewood Builders are equally happy with Chris. Aaron, the site supervisor, has watched him progress. “He has come on in leaps and bounds, his timekeeping and attendance are impeccable and he is always helpful, coming to ask me what he can do next after completing each project.
“I have given him some responsibility for opening up and closing the site and he has taken this and grown in confidence. Chris is part of the team and works with everyone on site, helping all the different trades and learning from them.”
Fabulous!

Sophie and James - RestomodSocial enterprise Pluss was recently bestowed with the national Social Champion Award at the Charity Times Awards.

The awards are in their fifteenth year and are the pre-eminent celebration of best practice in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector. The judges said Pluss had “Impressive growth, impressive impact based on a clear vision. This is a very impressive winner.”

The Social Champion Award is given to a Social Enterprise that can show how they have consistently delivered outstanding service to the end-beneficiaries, promoted and raised its cause, been clear in its social changing goals, strategy and vision and demonstrated excellence all round.

Pluss works to help people with disabilities into work, people like Sophie. Sophie, 20 from Fishponds in Bristol, is a Vehicle Repairer/Painter for Restomod, an automotive repair business. She is profoundly deaf and communicates by lip-reading and using British Sign Language.

Sophie said “I had looked for jobs but it was difficult to find a job to match my skills and interests. It’s quite rare for women in jobs like this. I also think communication was an obstacle – some people talk too fast and they see me as a barrier. Then I had support from Gary at Pluss. After a couple of weeks we found this garage and it suited me and my skills. When I came to look around I could see the atmosphere was very positive.

“I have become much more confident since I’ve been here and I feel motivated.

“It has made me more confident with lip-reading and communicating with people outside. I had to write before, I would write things down and it used to be difficult to communicate.”

James Nichols, the owner of Restomod, and Sophie’s boss said “Sophie is a very hard worker; she doesn’t stand around chatting. She has real drive and uses her initiative; she asks me what’s next. This type of work can be quite demanding and you’ve got to have a real passion and be able to keep up – which Sophie does.

“We were a little apprehensive at first just around how things would go with communication but everything is going very well. It really seems to be working. You need to know a little bit of sign language but I’m really quite enjoying learning. I have never had to speak other languages but she is quite willing to teach me and I find it interesting and refreshing to do something a bit different.

“We have had brilliant support from Pluss and they visit every three weeks or so just to make sure everything is going ok. They have basically given us a good worker who is very willing.”

Huge congratulations to Jeff Duddridge who celebrated 25 years with Pluss this week.  Jeff, who started working for us in 1989, was presented with his certificate over lunch with his colleagues at our Bridgwater factory. He will also be awarded with five additional days Annual Leave.
Jeff said “I have seen some real changes over the years. Different people coming and going. What I like about my job is the people here. We have a laugh. It’s like a family really – we help each other out.”
Andrew Turner, Enterprise Manager (on the right of the photo) said “Jeff is always willing to help people. He is very reliable and does his very best, both in and out of work”
Jeff works at our Bridgwater operations where we offer a range of manufacturing services including light engineering, metal fabrication and digital printing services.
Jeff Duddridge, on the left, with Andrew Turner

Project SEARCH, a supported internship programme, based at Derriford Hospital, that supports young adults with Learning Disabilities to gain paid employment, has been confirmed as a finalist for a top award.

The work of Project SEARCH in supporting young adults with Learning Disabilities to gain paid employment has been shortlisted in the ‘NHS Inclusivity Leader of the Year’ category of the ‘2014 South West Leadership Academy, Leadership Recognition Awards.’

The project, now in its fifth year, is a partnership between Derriford Hospital NHS Trust, Pluss, Serco and City College Plymouth who have come together to offer interns with developmental difficulties a pathway into paid employment.

Pluss Employment Advisor on the project, Pip Critten, commented: “We are proud and humbled to be considered amongst the very best working in inclusivity within the NHS and are passionate about the benefits of Project SEARCH, not just to the interns but the whole workforce and wider community.”

Hein Sheffer, Derriford Hospital’s HR Director said: “Derriford Hospital is proud to be an employer with a diverse workforce that reflects the surrounding population. Being a partner in this project has reinforced our view that employers should focus on people’s abilities and not their limitations.”

The shortlisting of the nomination recognises not only the work to support the interns but for the way they have helped to change attitudes to disability in the workplace.

The nomination states: “Through their outstanding commitment to inclusivity, they have enabled 57% of the graduate Interns to achieve paid employment. This is in contrast to the national average of 6.6% employment for people with Learning Disabilities.”

Members of the team will travel to Bristol for the award ceremony in November.

17th Oct, 2014

The minimum wage…

We fully believe that all employees are worth the minimum wage, and that all people who wish to work should be supported to do so. A disability, impairment or health condition should never be a reason for not giving a person the same rights as someone who is not disabled. Every day we see staff providing value to businesses with their wide range of personal experiences, skills, personalities and ambitions. Suggestions that disabled people are worth less than the minimum wage are destructive to the movement to improve the presumption of employability of disabled people that so many people and organisations tackle throughout the world. ~J

Mark Appleton, a 25 year old Stock and Administration Supervisor, is a trusted and motivated employee working for Vision Office in Garforth, Leeds.

However, a year ago it was a completely different story. Mark had been unemployed for over a year, and was struggling with anxiety and depression.

Friday 10th October is World Mental Health day. One in four people in the UK every year will experience a mental health issue which can include conditions such as depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Mark is telling his story to raise awareness of the vital role work had to play in his recovery to mental wellbeing.

“I had anxiety and depression; I found it particularly hard to deal with certain social situations and felt uncomfortable in crowded public places. This also made it difficult for me to travel on public transport. As a result I had been unemployed for more than a year.”

Mark was then referred to Pluss, a local Social Enterprise who has helped over 200 disabled people into work across Leeds.

“I received one-to-one support from Pluss who helped me identify where my skills were put to best use. Through one of their employer contacts, it was agreed that I would do a two week work trial. I was slightly worried about having to travel on public transport but Pluss supported me to use the train for the first couple of times. I felt good that people believed in me and that I could get support if needed. This helped me to grow in confidence and eventually be able to begin using public transport on my own.

“After the work trial, I was taken on to a paid Traineeship at Vision Office and initially started in the warehouse organising stock and helping with deliveries. Again this slowly helped me decrease my anxiety as I had to go to new and different locations, and interact with customers all over the West Yorkshire area.

“Now I have been taken on permanently by Vision Office, which is a very supportive and understanding employer. They have helped me through my NVQ in Customer Service and have also utilised my IT skills. I am now helping Richard to streamline his business and make the invoicing and delivery procedures more efficient.

“It is good to be working again. My job has helped me become a lot more social and get into a routine which helps with my mental health. It is great to feel part of a team, and it has helped me overcome a lot of my personal issues and get on with life again.”

“I feel that I am a valued part of Vision Office and it’s good to know that Richard has faith that my CRM skills can help his company to increase productivity and improve customer satisfaction.

“I would now like to broaden my experience with Vision Office so I can hopefully manage the warehouse and delivery section all by myself.

Richard Lucas, Owner / Director at Vision Office, is just as delighted with his new employee.

“When I was looking to expand my business I got in touch with Pluss who helped me work out what I needed from a staff member. Gary brought Mark for a meeting and I could tell he had a lot of potential, so I agreed to start him on a Traineeship.

“Mark is now a trusted member of the team and I have seen a huge improvement since our first meeting, both professionally and socially.

“He is now a key holder of the business and can be trusted to understand and run just about all aspects of customer service. He can deal with a customer from first point of contact right through to the final sale and invoice for payment.

“I am also beginning to see the reward of Mark’s other abilities such as his IT skills. He is currently helping me to streamline the process for payments which frees me up to go out and gain additional business for the company.”

Being in work is proven to be beneficial for mental wellbeing as it improves activity, social interaction and offers a sense of identity. Yet in Leeds only 11.2% of people with enduring mental health conditions are in work.

Robin Boness, 60, lives in Torquay and works as a Security Officer for Frontline Total Security Ltd.

Robin is diabetic and was referred to Pluss to help him through a very difficult period of depression due to long-term unemployment.

Robin is an unassuming and down to earth gentleman who talks with great honesty about his journey into work.

Robin’s Words

“I do building security, along with client and customer safety. At the moment I am guarding an empty grade 2 listed building. I patrol the building, secure windows and doors, check security of the building and make sure no one can get in. Every hour we do a patrol.

“I love every second of my job and I am so happy to be working. I get treated with respect by Lee and John; treated like a human being. I even got a phone call on Christmas day to say thank you. I have never had that before. I get on really well with all the night-workers too. They’re great, all really nice people. I try my best and it’s nice to hear that I’m hitting the mark.

“I was unemployed for five years and I was an electrician for 30 years previously. Because of my age I could no longer work at the same speed and I got made redundant.

“I felt so low when I was unemployed. I couldn’t see a future. By the time I got this job I had applied for 547 jobs which resulted in only one interview. At the time every advert said you must have a car. It got the point where I thought this is how it’s going to be – I’ll go stir crazy. I think I became introverted and snappy. I hated the world and myself. This is why I was referred to Pluss, because I was so low.

“Pluss were a tremendous help and gave top dollar support. I did an employability course with Debbie, and she lights up a room. They helped me get my refresher Security Industry Authority (SIA) badge. They helped fund my suit, shirt and tie for interview.

“Pluss drove me to interview and I was terrified. I was so close to getting a job I could taste it. I thought if I don’t get the job where do I go now? I couldn’t believe it when I actually got the job. Pluss then helped me with a hire car until I had a couple of months’ wages and could buy my own car.

“I still feel over the moon now. Your image of yourself improves once you are working, though I still suffer from unemployment lag. I have got so many things to replace like my oven and hob which don’t work properly – I am trying to get back to where I was five years ago.

“Now I’ve completely turned my life around. I love doing the job. It’s a responsible job where you use your head and there are prospects too. It’s not just the money, although that’s great as we all need money, but I’ve actually got someone to talk to. For five years, apart from signing on, I didn’t speak to people. Now I have got the balance just right.”

Lee Williams, Operations Director, Frontline Total Security Ltd

“It is 100% important in our line of work to get the right person. We have just been awarded the prestigious SIA ‘Approved Contractor’ status and this means we have to have top dollar employees. Our reputation is so important. We need people who are trustworthy with great customer service, well-presented and good time-keeping. Robin is all of these things.

“Robin is extremely smart, well mannered and has a good sense of humour. He is calm, respectful and has good judgement. He always turns up on time and is good with customers. Robin knows how to speak to people with respect.

“The job has very long hours mainly during evenings and weekends. You have to be self-motivated to do patrol and not fall asleep. This is not a problem for Robin as he is ex-military which gives him an excellent grounding.

“We now have 11 employees through Pluss across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Pluss know the sort of people we are looking for and only give us people that will suit. They pre-screen them for us and only put people forward who actually want to work in the industry. They listen to us as an employer and do whatever it takes. The aftercare is really good too. If we have any issues we phone and get them involved. Having that third party just makes dealing with any issues easier. All I want is for my staff to feel happy in their work.

“We are very busy so ultimately if we have people, like Robin, who really want to work that makes such a difference to us as a business. It saves us time and effort. Pluss knows what we are looking for and this means we don’t waste our or their time. We have an excellent relationship. We do and have recommended Pluss to other employers.”

Debbie is a Semi-Skilled Sewing Machinist working at Pluss’ upholstery Factory at Marsh Barton in Exeter. We are currently looking for two more Semi-Skilled Operatives for 21 hours a week to join Debbie.
Here is what Debbie has to say about her job:
“I most enjoy the difference, the diversity here; nothing is the same every day.
“You have to be creative, use your brain, your hands and you have to think. It’s not one of those 9-5 jobs where you just pop in and sit there and go home.
“You need to be good at hand sewing, have patience and always ask if you don’t know anything.
“It’s like an extended family at Pluss. They are caring; very caring. My colleagues are very pleasant – anything I don’t know; I always ask.
“If you’re are thinking of working here, I would say go for it.”

Do you have experience with using a sewing machine? Perhaps you’re a dedicated hobby-crafter, or maybe you’ve made clothes for yourself?

Debbie is a Sewing Machinist at a Pluss factory in ExeterHave you considered using your skills to take you to the next level?

Pluss is a vibrant social enterprise that is looking to recruit some more semi-skilled sewing machinists to join one of our teams in Exeter which specialises in re-upholstery and manufacturing products for the NHS.

The job will entail carrying out a wide variety of sewing machinist tasks, with some bespoke work for customers, and working from drawings to produce quality finished products.

We’re looking for people who have some experience but are also willing to learn new skills if needed, we can give training and offer our new starters a buddy to help them.

Pluss’ is an equal opportunities employer that is committed to supporting people with disadvantages to achieve a career through the use of reasonable adjustments, including job shares.

If you can meet the physical requirements of being a machinist (with adjustments if necessary) we would love to hear from you.

Visit www.latestvacancies.com/pluss to apply online.

If you experience any problems please contact the Pluss HR team on 01392 224441, or email hr@pluss.org.uk

Job Title:                    Semi – Skilled Operative x2

Hours:                        21 hours per week (per post)

Salary:                        Spot Salary £14,182 pro rata for part time

Location:                    Exeter

Start date:                  ASAP

This post is subject to a Basic Disclosure Check.

Find out more by visiting www.latestvacancies.com/pluss
17th Sep, 2014

Paul’s story

Paul Witcombe, 46, is a Kitchen Porter at The Olive Mill near Bridgwater. Paul is a friendly, hard-working man with a brilliant sense of humour. The atmosphere in the kitchen is fantastic and Paul obviously has a great relationship with his colleagues. Paul has a physical disability and short-term memory loss due to a car accident.

Paul’s Words

“My job is washing up, cleaning pots and pans. I like being back at work. They are nice people, very friendly and I get on well with everyone. We went ten-pin bowling recently and it’s the first time I’ve been out on a work do.

“I had a car crash in November 1988, exactly a month before Christmas. I was serving as a chef in the army at the time. I had been into town and was on my way back to camp in Kent to pick up my clothes to go home for the weekend.

“It was life changing. I was 20 at the time and I thought I’d be set for a career in the army but I spent my 21st birthday in hospital. I spent the next couple of years in a special unit for people who were too sick to go home and I was medically discharged from the army.

“I have a very bad tremor down my left hand side and this means I struggle holding things with two hands. I have to do things one-handed. I also have short-term memory problems. I have to keep to a set routine and I can get lost if I am in strange places. When I was on holiday in Tenerife, I was mugged and I got completely lost. I went missing for a day as I didn’t know how to find my way back.

“I worked previously at a canteen within a cellophane factory but when it closed I lost my job. Then I worked for motorway services but was made redundant. After this I was out of work for quite a while and it was very boring, especially in winter.

“I started here originally on a Pluss Traineeship in July. After the traineeship, they decided to keep me on and I had two coffees to celebrate! I was glad to be getting some holiday vouchers [Paul’s term for wages]!

“It’s really nice, just being back in work. I feel I am getting out and doing something; not stuck in the house all of the time. Going to work gives me a goal, something to look forward to. It has made me a lot more comfortable financially. I am saving my holiday vouchers to go to Florida in September. Now I can have a 99 flake on holiday and not just the ice cream!

“Pluss have been very good. I would never have found the job without them. They have helped with everything. All my qualifications were out of date as I did them in the army in the late 1980’s. Pluss helped me to do basic food hygiene, they helped me prepare for applications and interviews, and to meet with employers.

“I am very happy to hear Mark, my boss, say I am doing well.”

Mark Rodosthenous’ words, Owner, The Olive Mill

“Paul’s role as Kitchen Porter is the backbone of the operation. It’s very important and it’s got to be to a good standard. He has been with us for eight months and is punctual and reliable. He has got a good relationship with the other team members and always has something to say. He gives respect and vice versa. Basically, he works very hard, is positive and puts in a really good effort – that’s why he’s here.

“Pluss contacted me and explained about Paul. To be honest, we were a little unsure at first but they had real confidence in him and I thought everyone deserves a chance. They introduced me and we had a trial to see if he could do the job. We moved the kitchen around a bit to make it easier for him to remember where things go, so he could do it all himself.

“After the first month he became more confident but Pluss would still visit to check everything was ok. Now it’s the summer season and we are a lot busier but Paul keeps up, no worries. I say to the others in the kitchen, if they have just an ounce of what Paul has got, then we’ll be ok! He gives 100% and we couldn’t do without him – It just shows, we all need a chance, all of us!

“It can be hard to get staff, especially people who want to work and Paul wants to work! It makes him feel he is worth something. If he works extra hours one of the boys will give him a lift home. My team have seen how hard he works and how busy we are and that’s why he has rightfully gained their respect.”

Seven month contract – Self employed
Up to £20,000

Applications are invited from qualified teachers/trainers with an understanding of the needs of disabled people.

In addition to running structured training programmes to groups throughout the county of Gloucestershire, applicants will need to develop relationships with local employers and organisations such as Jobcentre Plus and Gloucestershire County Council. Will need to be very well organised with problem solving skills plus the ability to innovate and meet targets.

A DBS check will be required.

Timescale:
Deadline for submission: 18th August 2014 (Meeting 20th August tbc)
Decision: 25th August 2014
Contract to start: 1st September 2014

For details on how to apply please request this via email to Rachael Lathbury; Pluss Area Manager in Gloucestershire rachael.lathbury@pluss.org.uk

Or for an in informal discussion email your mobile number and best contact times to call you back on to rachael.lathbury@pluss.org.uk

Round 3 provision for the National Offender Management Service European Social Fund 2014-2020 programme – to help offenders move towards mainstream provision or into employment by addressing their barriers to work through facilitating access to comprehensive support mechanisms appropriate to their individual circumstance and assessed need.

NOMS has recently announced that they will tender to procure providers to deliver Round 3 provision for the National Offender Management Service European Social Fund 2014-2020 programme.

Pluss and our consortium partners, Prison Advice & Care Trust (PACT) and Alliance Living, will be tendering as a prime for the NOMS ESF contract in the South West of England. The consortium has wide ranging and proven experience of delivering all the activities and outcomes required to move offenders and ex-offenders towards and into employment.

The consortium would like to hear from a range of providers who are interested in working with us as part of our supply chain to deliver this programme:

We would particularly like to hear from providers who can demonstrate
• Proven record in supporting ex-offenders from specific disadvantaged groups (BAME, Young Offenders, Female Offenders etc) including end to end and/or specialist intervention provision
• Established infrastructure and presence within Gloucester, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon and Somerset
• Demonstrable and proven specialist experience in supporting offenders in overcoming barriers towards employment (Accommodation, Substance Misuse, Behavioural issues, Families, self Employment, Finance etc)
• Proven experience in innovative solutions that move those from disadvantaged groups into employment including Social Enterprise activities.

Please e-mail businessdevelopment@pluss.org.uk for an E.o.I. Form. Please head your e-mail ‘ESF NOMS r3 E.o.I’.

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