Celebrating partnerships and employment

17 January 2019

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Better Working Futures, our name for DWP's Work and Health Programme, marked the first anniversary of its launch this week with events and Jobs Fairs for jobseekers and local community representatives.

Over the past year, the service - which 92% of participants would recommend - has supported thousands of jobseekers with a range of different personal circumstances, including health conditions and disabilities that have prevented them from working.

They have been brought together with hundreds of employers, local community partners and specialist support organisations to open up greater opportunities for employment.

Celebrating partnerships

Our events offered an opportunity to update guests from Jobcentre Plus and other stakeholders on the impact of the service in Huddersfield, Barnsley, Derby, Sheffield and our other offices across the North East.

We shared details of the activities and initiatives that have been developed to offer participants the best possible support. These include help from counsellors, fitness courses, grooming and personal care assistance and access to spinal rehabilitation, chiropractor and physiotherapy services.

Partnership work with local community support services and partners has ensured that we have continued to meet the needs of those who use Better Working Futures.

We were pleased to have more than 40 participants join us on the day to share their experiences.

In Leeds, one of them - Chris - told guests:

"I was in a hole and Better Working Futures were able to get me back into employment. They helped me with my health and gave me something to get up for in the morning."

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Chris discussing his story

Malcolm, 53, in Doncaster suffers with Deep Vein Thrombosis and had never worked before joining the service. Now employed, he said: "The support I received really helped with my confidence and the training I got helped me learn to work with others. I was given the opportunity to gain new skills which has had an impact on my life."

Mary was battling addiction to alcohol and struggled with fears of being in public by herself when she came to Better Working Futures. We helped her attend a session with Forward Leeds, a local alcohol and drugs service. Mary went along to networking meetings with her Employment Adviser and now works at a leading retailer. She said: "I feel staff at Reed in Partnership have been like a family to me. I couldn't have done anything without my adviser."

People find work at Job Fairs

In the afternoon, the offices were a hive of activity as hundreds of participants visited our Jobs Fairs. Thirty-five different employers joined the events, including ASOS, Marks and Spencer and Tesco.

Three participants who attended the Jobs Fair in Derby and a further three in Doncaster were offered jobs on the spot. Chloe Bradley, from Web Help UK, a recruiter in the Barnsley area, said:

"Working with Better Working Futures has been a really successful engaging journey. The Jobs Fair today is really good for networking with regards to potential candidates."

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Chloe from Web Help interviews Jamie in Barnsley at the Jobs Fair

Tony Mace, Programme Director at Reed in Partnership, said: "It was great to see so many people wanting to come along and support and celebrate our day. We brought our participants, Jobcentres and employers together to celebrate some of the good relationships we have developed over the last 12 months.

We are working with some great partners to deliver the service, who were also involved in marking the anniversary today.

The feedback we get from the participants and external stakeholders is very positive about the level and quality of support we are providing."

Better Working Futures is Reed in Partnership's name for the DWP's Work and Health Programme. Co-funded by the European Social Fund, it is part of a wider package of support for disabled people announced by the government and aims to bring jobseekers, support provision and employers together to provide greater opportunities for those looking for work.

You can find out more at betterworkingfutures.co.uk