A unique commercial enterprise in Wiltshire, set up to give disabled people skills to meet shortages in local industry, has to impressed employers that they are snapping up the learners for full-time jobs.
Energy2work operates as a local authoritybacked staffing agency in horticulture, retail, food, biofuel and recycling industries, offering soft skills training, the Edexcel Workskills Working in a Team Award and eight weeks’ tailored work experience to an initial 45 people. “It gives them a challenging programme that takes them outside their comfort zones,” said Ann King, the ESF project manager. “Most had no interests or friends outside the family before this.”
“Feedback from employers showed their surprise at the level of engagement and communication skills of the learners, compared with other work experience placements they had supported,” she said. So far 11 people have qualified and the first four, including someone with Asperger’s syndrome, moved swiftly into jobs.
Employers attend training sessions to see how to get the best out of disabled employees. The learners also have a weekly job club to help improve their employment prospects. “Energy2work engages with learners constantly through social networking sites such as Facebook and texting. Most will move into employment of their choice, identified through Information, Advice and Guidance sessions and the Energy2work employment team,” ended Ann King.