Employment scheme makes a difference

Speakers (l-r) Liam Doyle and Alistair Shanks from Allied Timber and property services manager Ian Gillespie with job coach Paul Ruston at the supported employment event.
Speakers (l-r) Liam Doyle and Alistair Shanks from Allied Timber and property services manager Ian Gillespie with job coach Paul Ruston at the supported employment event.

Contractors heard first-hand the business benefits of employing people from North Lanarkshire Council’s supported employment service.

In a first for the supported employment team, an information event was held in Bellshill involving council contractors to make them aware of the service and how it can make a positive difference to their recruitment.

Supported employment helps people with learning disabilities, acquired brain injury, mental health issues and young care leavers find employment.

It matches vacancies with the right person to do the job. In addition a job coach works with the employer and employee to provide ongoing support.

Maureen Cook, service manager for supported employment, said: “The figures speak for themselves. We’re currently working with over 100 local businesses and almost two thirds of the people we support in work are employed by companies who have recruited from us more than once.

“Currently we’re supporting 176 people in jobs, with over 75 per cent remaining in them for two years or more. We have 79 people looking for work in a range of sectors and I’m hoping by presenting about the service we can find more employment opportunities.”

Among the speakers were: property services manager Ian Gillespie who outlined how working together can improve economic opportunities, Alistair Shanks of Allied Timber who detailed his positive experience of supported employment and Liam Doyle who revealed having a job has changed his life.

He said: “Before I got my job I was bored, lacked confidence and felt I was wasting my time, but with the help of my job coach I was successful in getting a job at Allied Timber.

“I work 40 hours each week in a job I love for over three years now. I’m now happier, have more money, go on holidays and feel valued.”

Contractors in attendance included: Rhodar Ltd, Morrisons Construction, Walker Profiles, Sidey, Lovell Partnerships, AC Whyte and Environtec.

Walker Profiles director Jim Gibson said: “I was very interested to learn of the work carried out by the supported employment team and I am now looking at any opportunities within our business in which we may be able to engage with the programme.”

Follow up meetings with all the contractors have been arranged to progress supported employees helping to fill suitable vacancies.