In work and proud - Skills for Work in Torbay

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Four young people with disabilities have all found paid employment thanks to a joint initiative run by TOR2 and Pluss.

The Skills for Work programme offers individuals, who face a range of barriers to finding work, a four week placement to develop new skills, increase their confidence and gain qualifications along with an up-to-date work reference.

As a result all four participants have now secured paid work, three of whom will be working directly for TOR2. The individuals have been recruited through TOR2’s local employment agency GAP Recruitment.

At a celebratory event held at Oldway Mansions last month, the participants were presented with their Skills for Work certificate by Mark Ilsley, TOR2’s Service Manager with responsibility for Parks and Open Spaces services, and John Mansell, Team Leader for Waste and Recycling services.

Robert Osborne, 21, from Totnes has ADHD and a learning disability. He said “I am pretty happy as I was volunteering before and now I am being paid. Doing this programme has made me feel more open – I am able to talk to the public, speak up for myself and it’s really built my confidence. I feel very proud of myself.”

Richard Rice, 27, from Paignton, added “It feels excellent to be getting paid for a job now. I’ve done this type of work before so it’s right up my street. It feels great and I am over the moon. I have dyslexia and it’s made it very difficult for me to find work in the past.”

Matt Horwell, 29, from Newton Abbot agreed “I have got on well, worked hard and am always on time. I have gained so much in confidence, and can talk to the public and look after the site. I struggle with reading and writing which makes it really difficult for me to understand forms. Pluss and TOR2 have given me that extra support.”

Mark Ilsley, Service Manager of Parks, is equally delighted with his new employees, “The guys have shown real commitment out there; working in all weathers. We have really enjoyed working with them, they have done a great job and we are proud of them and what they have personally achieved. They’ve integrated really well into the team and it is because of their hard work that they have managed to secure positions both here at TOR2 and elsewhere.”

TOR2 is joint venture partnership between Torbay Council and Kier Group, which is responsible for delivering a wide range of essential front-line services to the residents of Torbay.

They have been able to offer a range of placements in gardening, waste and recycling to create work experience opportunities and break down some of the barriers many disabled jobseekers face.