Pluss were delighted to host our annual Disability Confident networking event at the beautiful National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth today.
Held in partnership with Johnny Mercer, MP for Moor View Plymouth, we were joined by over 130 Plymouth businesses. Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, and William Telford, Business Editor at the Plymouth Herald, also joined us to present our Employer and Achiever awards.
Gary presented the Employer of the Year Award 2016. This year, there were two winners - Plymouth City Bus and SWM & Waste Recycling Ltd. Both companies were recognised for the outstanding work they have done in the last year to employ more disabled staff.
Julie Baker and David Danby were winners of the Pluss Achiever of the Year 2016. We can safely say that there was not a dry eye in the house at this point. Julie said that "working made her proud" and that she could be a "role model to her daughter". David summed up how he felt perfectly in two simple words - "Well happy".
Richard Barnes, Operations Director at Jem Scaffolding spoke extremely passionately about how employing people with disabilities has changed the dynamic of his business. His advice to other employers was to simply to "give it a go".
Street Factory CIC then finished the event with an awesome Hip Hop street dance performance.
Speaking after the event, Johnny Mercer MP said "I was honoured to have worked alongside Pluss this week, to raise the profile of the Disability Confident campaign. Too many disabled people in Plymouth struggle to find and retain employment. Often this is because employers are not disability confident.
"I’d encourage more Plymouth employers to look at how they can employ disabled people. Plymouth City Bus and SWM & Waste Recycling Ltd, the winners of Employer of the Year 2016, show how achievable and rewarding it is – both for the employer, but most importantly for the disabled person able to gain meaningful employment."
Gary Streeter MP said "Congratulations to Plymouth City Bus and SWM & Waste Recycling Ltd. I was delighted to award them their Employer of the Year Award today. The work they have done to become Disability Confident provides an excellent example of how possible it is.
"Across the City and into the surrounding towns and villages, we need to lay down the challenge to employers to become Disability Confident. We should also be inspiring disabled people of all ages to consider engaging with Pluss to start the journey towards employment. I am encouraged that Plymouth continues to have so many excellent role models amongst employers, and hope these examples will prompt other organisations to follow their lead."