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’.

A group of people with disabilities have graduated from a brand new initiative designed to help jobseekers with a disability prepare for and find work.

CORMAC have been working with local Social Enterprise, Pluss, on the Skills for Work programme which offers individuals with a range of barriers to finding work the opportunity to gain skills from different areas of the CORMAC Company.

The project is named ‘CORMAC 6’ and offered selected individuals, a ten week placement to develop new skills, to increase their confidence and gain an accredited qualification along with an up-to-date work reference. CORMAC recognise that some people find it difficult to engage in work for a variety of reasons and there are extensive opportunities that CORMAC can offer to help support people back into work through this type of project.

On graduation day, the graduates were presented with their APT certificate in ‘Skills Towards Progression’ by Councillor Bert Biscoe, who said “It is great to see this fledgling partnership develop between CORMAC and Pluss, which gives people the opportunity to up-skill, build satisfying lives and ultimately makes them happy.”

Also at the graduation was Richard Taylor, Technical Services Manager and project lead at CORMAC. Richard said “Social responsibility is really important to CORMAC and it is great that we can work in partnership with Pluss to give opportunities to people who are finding it hard to get back into work. We hope that their time spent with us proves to be valuable in getting experience of new skills, working as part of a team, building confidence and developing communication skills.

It has been great for CORMAC to show how we can effectively break down some of the barriers found in the work place. We have placements from engineering to gardening and cleaning, so we can offer a diverse range of jobs”.

Adam Wills (pictured), 22, from Falmouth, has a learning disability and is one of the graduates. He told us “I had a couple of jobs previously but basically I fell out of work and had been unemployed since last November. I have been looking for jobs but you don’t get much response. You fill in forms but no-one comes back to you and it doesn’t feel good to be honest. Then Pluss helped me get this placement.

“Now I have worked as a gardener at CORMAC and it feels good. I travelled across Cornwall doing business and council gardens. I liked travelling around and am back in contact with several friends from school who also work here.

“It felt really good – just being back in work. I really hope that I will find employment now and I think it has been really helpful.”

CORMAC have an excellent quality workforce, delivering important front line services to keep the county of Cornwall safe, clean and green. There is inherent value in having a diverse workforce but it is sometimes difficult to create entry level operational roles for people to gain opportunities of work experience and gaining further skills. This project seeks to address these barriers. Out of the five successful individuals who completed the programme one has already secured work, one has continued to work with the CORMAC Parks and Gardens Team on a voluntary basis and another is gaining additional skills within CORMAC.

CORMAC are a wholly owned Company of Cornwall Council, and provide highway and environmental design and maintenance services, construction of major highway schemes, and facilities management services including property maintenance, cleaning and caretaking services. CORMAC also provides fleet management and maintenance, quarried stone and aggregates and laboratory services.

Cornish business, Frontline Total Security Ltd, were delighted to win a prestigious ‘Employer of the Year’ award at a Disability Confident event held last week at the Health and Wellbeing Centre in Treliske.

Hosted by local social enterprise Pluss, Disability Confident is a national campaign, launched by David Cameron in London a year ago. Disability Confident encourages employers to be positive about the skills that disabled people bring to business. Pluss is a national partner in the campaign and is working closely with the Minister for Disabled People to bring the campaign to local areas.

The event was opened by Sarah Newton MP, who presented Frontline with their trophy and a bottle of champagne.

Over 60 Cornish businesses also attended the event with speakers including CORMAC and Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. The employers spoke about how employing a disabled person is one of the best decisions they have ever made; how it has helped transform their culture, their customer relations, their performance – and their bottom line!

On winning the ‘Employer of the Year’, Lee Williams, Operations Director at Frontline said “We are absolutely over the moon to be given this award. I do strongly believe that it is all about ability and not disability. At the end of the day, we just want good people who are keen to come into work.

“We now have 11 employees through Pluss as they know the sort of people we are looking for. We are a very busy company so they pre-screen all candidates and put people forward who actually want to work in the industry. This makes such a difference. If I need new staff, I pick up the phone to Pluss.”

Sarah Newton MP added “I was delighted to join today’s Disability Confident event and particularly to present Frontline with their award. It is businesses like this that are the backbone of our local community.

“It’s also fantastic to see so many other local businesses on board and hear the clear financial and social benefits to employers. In reality disabled people can be incredibly productive and loyal employees, who statistically take less time off sick and have fewer accidents at work than their non-disabled colleagues.”

Nearly 7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, yet there has historically been a large gap between the numbers of disabled people employed compared with non disabled people. Over 72% of the working age population are currently in work yet for someone with a learning disability living in Cornwall it is only 0.6%.

Many employers find that by encouraging applications from disabled people they are able to extend the pool of high quality applicants available to them. For an average business 20% of their customers are disabled people. A workforce that reflects the diverse range of customers it serves, and the community in which it is based, is good for business. On top of this, disabled people spend £80bn a year in the UK.

Frontline Total Security Ltd is one of the main security providers in Cornwall and across the South West. Their main area of operation is the supply of security guard services to large organisations and blue chip companies.

They have a flexible approach to their recruitment process; offering pre-application chats about working in the security industry, offering working interviews and work experience, providing a buddy to help with tasks such as completing time-sheets, and identifying suitable security jobs.

Pluss is a Social Enterprise that supports disabled people into work. They work with more than 500 employers across Cornwall, helping them to recruit and retain staff with a disability.

Businesses looking for free disability recruitment support can find out more at www.pluss.org.uk, www.facebook.com/plussinspires or on twitter @PlussInspires.

Shaun Hobbs, Team Leader for Pluss’ mobility showrooms, has written this response after seeing the BBC1 programme ‘The Trouble with Mobility Scooters’.

“I have been in the mobility business for nine years now and some of my colleagues a lot longer; I was astonished on how some of the people were using the scooters on the programme.

“My name is Shaun Hobbs; I am the Team Leader for the Pluss’ mobility showrooms, who sell and hire scooters, power-chairs and all other types of aids to daily living. Pluss is a large Social Enterprise which supports people with disabilities into work and also employs people with disabilities in our factories, showrooms and services.

“The programme did make it look like just anyone can walk into a mobility showroom, purchase a scooter with no questions asked and ride off on it. We, as a company, are not like that.

“Pluss showrooms have fully trained assessors that follow a procedure even before the customer sits on the scooter. The first being if they have any medical problems that may restrict them from purchasing a scooter from us. If they tell us they suffer from any of the following, visual impairment, epilepsy or black outs, we advise them we can not sell them a scooter unless they can get a letter from their GP, saying they are ok to have one. We, as a company, put the customer’s Health & Safety, before anything else, even if it means we lose out on a sale.

“If a customer comes in and does not have any medical problems that would stop them purchasing a scooter, we explain to them about the vehicle and how it works, explaining fully how to use the controls, even down to the lights. The other things we advise them about is when they are out on the scooter, is that pedestrians have the right of way over scooter riders, also the importance of having insurance, even though it is not a current legal requirement.

“When we have explained all the above to the customer we then allow them to get on the scooter, where we let them switch it on and have a ride around the demonstration area explaining the controls. If they feel happy with the scooter and still wish to purchase we then advise that we like to arrange a home assessment so that we know it is going to be suitable for where they are going to be using it.

“When we do the home assessment we check where it is going to be stored and charged. Once all the storage and charging is ok we then take them out on the scooter, with our assessor walking alongside, completing an assessment form, making sure the user is ok with handling and manoeuvring it across roads and in and out of shops. If at the end of the assessment our assessor is not happy with something that may put the client at risk, they will be told. Our policy is that we will never sell a scooter to anybody unless we are fully satisfied that they can operate it safely.

“The thing I feel is giving high street mobility showrooms, and a lot of the users, a bad name is the companies on the internet that sell directly to the public at a very cheap price without even asking a single question. This should be looked into because as time goes on there will be a lot more people buying without proper assessment and advice, causing more injuries and possible deaths.

“I feel that everyone that purchases a mobility scooter, should be given a full assessment before they can purchase. Remember: you can’t drive a car until you have passed a test.”

Shaun Hobbs

Pluss Mobility Showrooms Team Leader

A group of young people with learning disabilities have graduated from a ground-breaking internship scheme based at Torbay Hospital.

Project SEARCH has had success all over the world and is being delivered in Torbay by South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, South Devon College and local social enterprise Pluss which provides specialist employment support services across South Devon for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

The programme runs over an academic year, during which time the students work towards a City and Guilds Diploma in Employability and Personal Development. The aim is to remove the significant barriers faced by people with a learning disability and to help the students find paid employment within the hospital or elsewhere in the community.

This year’s cohort of ten students, aged between 18 and 24, have worked in three placement rotations in different areas within the Trust including catering, postal services, portering, medical records and the Patient Access Centre.

During the past year, the interns have carried out tasks relevant to their placement, returning to the base room at the end of each day to assess how their day has gone as well as learning other communication, problem-solving and job-specific skills.

Already one of the graduates, Paul Mitchell, 22, has secured a position at the hospital as a Transfusion Practitioner Administration Assistant. Paul explains

I am responsible for safe practice of blood transfusions in the hospital – it’s a very technical and complicated role. This is my first ever permanent job. When I got offered the post I was a bit shocked and surprised. It’s good to pay my parents towards my housekeeping and mobile. 

“It has been a good experience to do Project SEARCH. It has helped me get paid work; it’s also been fun, I have gained new skills and made new friends. I really gave it all I could!

“I have a learning disability and this makes reading and writing hard, but since I have had this job I am getting much better. I am a very different person now; much more confident and I feel proud.”

The graduation ceremony was opened by Chairman of South Devon Healthcare Trust, Sir Richard Ibbotson, who said:  “I feel honoured to be here today to join in the students’ celebration.  This is the second year that Torbay Hospital has hosted Project SEARCH and I am proud to be part of something that is helping to get our local young people with a learning disability into paid employment.  Long may this fantastic scheme continue.”

Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver, presented the interns with their Certificates and said “I would like to congratulate all the interns and staff of the partner organisations who made the project such a success. The ten interns can all feel very proud of their achievements.”

Stephen Criddle, Principal at South Devon College, is delighted with the intern’s success, “The college is pleased to be part of the Project SEARCH model and how it is supporting our learners within their work placements and into paid work opportunities. This project has made a real difference to those engaged; their attitudes to work, how to be a good employee, and how to be a real asset within a working team environment”.

Plymouth Disability Confident Invite

This week is Learning Disability Week and Dan Panter is a shining example of how people with learning disabilities can make the kind of employee every business would want.

Dan, 33, from Plymouth, has a learning disability and is a gardener for Pixieland nurseries at their three sites in Stoke, Mannamead and Saltash. He is supported by local Social Enterprise, Pluss, who have helped over 500 people with disabilities and health conditions into work across Plymouth. This is his first ever job.

Dan’s manager, Leanne James, explains “Dan is really good at everything. It is really important to us as a business to have our grounds looking clean and tidy as it is the first thing you see when you visit. Our gardens have never looked so good; he is the best gardener we have ever had!

“He is lovely, yet he was really shy when he first came here. Each week he has become more confident and is now really coming out of his shell. He gets on brilliantly with his colleagues.

“He is also reliable with good time-keeping; in fact it can be difficult to get him to leave on time as he always wants to do the next job!”

Yet, Dan’s journey into paid work has not been an easy one. He has always loved being outside and had taken on many gardening placements in the hope of being given a break. However, despite his hard work and commitment, none of these openings resulted in paid work.

This is a common picture throughout the UK for people with a learning disability. Over 72% of the working age population are currently in work yet for someone with a learning disability living in Plymouth it is only 4.3%. This isn’t because they can’t or don’t want to work, but because the impact of their disabilities, and society’s attitudes towards those disabilities mean they must frequently overcome complex challenges if they are to achieve a career.

However, Dan was not to be defeated and continued to look for work, embracing new opportunities with enthusiasm and a smile on his face. When an opportunity arose at Pixieland, he completed a one day work trial and they immediately offered him the job.

Dan is now extremely happy and takes great pride in his job. “I clean the car park, tidy leaves, weed, brush up the sand from the sandpit when the children have been playing – sand, sand and more sand! I always have a look around and see what needs doing.

“This is my first paid job ever and I feel I have achieved. Having money is good. They have said that I am the best gardener they have ever had and I feel very happy when they say that to me.

“I always wanted to do gardening and am much happier now I am doing what I want to do. When I got my first wage slip I wanted to show everyone.”

Pluss helped Dan approach Pixieland and undergo the initial application and interview process. They now provide on-going support to Dan at Pixieland and have helped access funding towards a long term job-coach who helps him learn new tasks, and manage his workload and time effectively. The aim is to help Dan build up his confidence and initiative so he can take full ownership of the role.

Businesses looking for free disability recruitment support can find out more at www.pluss.org.uk

Learning Disability Week is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of learning disability across the UK. It’s important that people with a learning disability have the same opportunities as anyone else throughout every stage of their lives. This Learning Disability Week (June 16-22), celebrates people overcoming adversity (and people’s prejudice and ignorance) to experience their incredible firsts. To find out more visit www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/learning-disability-week

This week is Learning Disability Week and Barry Savill is a shining example of the real benefits that people with learning disabilities can bring to business.

Quiet, hard-working and diligent, Barry, from Exmouth, has a learning disability and is a Workshop Brake Liner at Devon Fleet Components in Exeter. He is supported by local Social Enterprise, Pluss, who have helped over 300 people with disabilities and health conditions into work across East Devon.

Barry’s manager, Bob Gamlin, explains “Barry looks after relining and his role is very specialist and important. We know his quality of work is always the best and that he’ll just get on with his job. He’s always been the first one here in the morning and he’s never been ill. Barry’s difference to the business is immeasurable.

“We’ve learned how to work with Barry and what processes work for him and, therefore, us. For instance it would really stress Barry to tell him there’s a rush, so we have certain ways of communicating with him for priorities.

“We’ve got a very good relationship with Pluss and they are always there to liaise with for support and handling things together.”

Barry is also extremely happy with his role, “I do enjoy my job, I like knowing I’m the best at it. I like having a set routine for the day and knowing what I’ve got to do.

“I’ve had a job for a long time. Having a job is important to me. I’m proud and happy to tell people I’ve got a job, my parents are happy for me too. I settled straight in here and learned the job easily.

“My job is to strip the lorry brake shoes, clean them and then paint them. I use the sand blaster first, and greasy ones have to be washed by hand. Once they’ve been painted I reline them and then they’re refitted onto lorries.

“I sometimes find it hard talking to people and getting used to new people. I don’t like surprises but I do like to try and help out everyone when I can. It didn’t take me long to settle in with the people here, they’re all really supportive.”

Businesses looking for free disability recruitment support can find out more at www.pluss.org.uk

Learning Disability Week is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of learning disability across the UK. It’s important that people with a learning disability have the same opportunities as anyone else throughout every stage of their lives. This Learning Disability Week (June 16-22), celebrates people overcoming adversity (and people’s prejudice and ignorance) to experience their incredible firsts. To find out more visit www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/learning-disability-week

Over 72% of the working age population are currently in work yet for someone with a learning disability living in Devon it is only 8.6%. This isn’t because they can’t or don’t want to work, but because the impact of their disabilities, and society’s attitudes towards those disabilities mean they must frequently overcome complex challenges if they are to achieve their ambition of a career.

The Pluss team with Esther McVey, Minister for EmploymentRepresentatives from Pluss went to London recently for the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) awards, sponsored by Shaw Trust.

Pluss was shortlisted for two awards: Disability Employment and Innovation. The photo on the left shows Pluss staff members with Esther McVey, the Minister for Employment.

The ERSA Employability Awards aim to celebrate and champion best practice from across the employment related services sector, highlighting the day to day hard work and dedication of individuals and organisations in the industry that are supporting jobseekers to find employment and often making a genuine difference in people’s lives.

Pluss won The Innovation Award, sponsored by PublicCo, for the development of the social franchise Future Clean; an innovative, social franchised, micro-enterprise providing training and employment in very public areas for people with complex disabilities who are traditionally seen as furthest from the labour market. Its expansion across the country, within 13 local authority areas to date, is the result of the unlikely public/private/third sector partnership between Pluss and other major welfare to work providers. Its eco-credentials and commercial effectiveness has won the approval of councils and the BPA.

Pluss also sponsored the award for Large Employer of the year, which was won by Greggs PLC. Gregg’s work inclusion programme compromises of three initiatives, developed in partnership with specific organisations to help promote the employability of people from very specific disadvantaged groups:
1. Ready to Work: Developed in conjunction with the prisons and probation trusts, this particular programme provides both offenders and ex-offenders with assessment and interview experience.
2. A Taste of Greggs: Developed in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, this programme offers both work experience placement and employment to young people.
3. Work Programme: Shaped for Greggs by various employment support providers, this programme helps to support the longer term unemployed through the provision of work experience and paid employment when possible.

Social Enterprise City LogoYesterday I was elected as a board member for the Plymouth Social Enterprise Network. This is a great opportunity for Pluss to really support the social enterprise movement in the city – one of the UK’s first Social Enterprise Cities.

Plymouth is a hot-spot for social enterprise activity in the UK and is developing as a global ‘social enterprise city’. We have one of the most active social enterprise networks in the country and Plymouth University is the world’s first officially certified ‘social enterprise’ university.

There are around 150 social enterprises in the city working in a wide range of sectors including in education, health, arts, environment, food, finance, housing, business support, sport, social care and many more.

Collectively these businesses employ around 7,000 people and bring in an income of over £500 million.

So, thanks to all the members for voting me in, and I look forward to learning more about the network and its members. ~Jayne

Bubbly, dedicated and a great sense of humour; these are just a few reasons that Napha Beer, a Room Attendant at the Future Inn in Plymouth, has recently been nominated as their ‘Employee of the Month’. Yet this is Napha’s first paid job in over seven years.

Napha has a learning disability and is profoundly deaf. She is supported by local Social Enterprise, Pluss, who have helped over 500 people with disabilities and health conditions into work across Plymouth.

Napha is unable to use the spoken word and communicates using gestures and pictures. She is from Thailand and doesn’t speak English; she uses an interpreter who communicates using both British and Thai Sign Language.

Yet despite these barriers, the determined Napha is a highly valued member of the team. She is hard-working and her rooms are immaculate.

Through her interpreter, Napha told us “I have not had paid work for years. I did do work experience in a Thai restaurant before but I wasn’t happy. The communication was very difficult. It was hard work and there was no pay.

“Then I had really good help from Pluss. It feels so good to be paid and I really like being sociable with the staff here.

“The bit I most enjoy about my job is making the beds; my beds are perfect. I really didn’t expect to be made ‘Employee of the Month’ but I was very happy when it happened.”

But it’s not only Napha who is pleased. Housekeeping Manager, Janet Chiswell, couldn’t be happier, “Napha came for a six week trial initially. Even in those early days on work experience, her work was to an excellent standard.

“As her six weeks were due to finish, we were looking to employ someone and Napha was the best and obvious choice. She had done so well and had really proved herself during her placement. We thought she would do even better as an employee – she was absolutely thrilled.

“I can’t stress how important it is for a hotel like Future Inn to get the presentation of the bedrooms right. It can take most people a very long time to get it right – Napha just has the ‘knack’. She is very proud of her work and extremely organised as well.

“As a person, Napha is great. She is always happy, smiling and continually making us laugh. It’s a hard job and Napha really helps keep team morale up. All colleagues and customers feel the same; even the guests tell me they think it is great that she is working here. As a result, Napha was recently awarded the ‘Employee of the Month’. I nominated Napha because of the standard of her work but people from other departments also nominated her.

“It has made a real difference to the business. She’s fun to be around and it’s great for other staff to see that we employ people from all backgrounds. Napha is actually really good at getting things across…although she does tease me about my attempts at sign language! It just wouldn’t be the same here without Napha around.”

Pluss team Plymouth Herald Social Enterprise of the Year winnersAt an awards ceremony in Plymouth last night Pluss was given the award for Social Enterprise of the Year. The awards, run by Plymouth Herald, recognised businesses from the city in 15 categories.

The Social Enterprise of the Year award was sponsored by Plymouth University, the other finalists for the award were Iridescent Ideas CIC and Stiltskin Arts and Theatre CIC.

Representatives from Plymouth Social Enterprise Network and Social Enterprise Mark were present at the evening and it was lovely to see other social enterprises nominated for categories other than that specially for the sector, refirming Plymouth’s status as a social enterprise city.

Congratulations to all at Pluss, especially to those staff working in and with the Plymouth teams, it’s great for Pluss to have been recognised for the work we’re doing and changes we’re making in the city and surrounding area.

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Best-Plymouth-business-celebrated-Herald-awards/story-21043612-detail/story.html

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Herald-Business-Awards-winners/story-21043623-detail/story.html

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