disabilityEmployers could be encouraged to take action to improve accessibility for disabled members of staff after the government confirmed it is extending its Work Programme.

The scheme, which is designed to help tens of thousands of former incapacity benefit claimants into jobs, as well as people receiving Employment and Support Allowance, is being boosted by a new partnership with the Employment Related Services Association.

Charities, business leaders and disability experts will all be working together in order to support the hardest to help claimants into a job through the Work Programme.

Minister for employment Mark Hoban addressed the first meeting of the group yesterday (April 24th) and stated more help than ever before is being given by the government to people with significant barriers keeping them out of work.

“It’s far better to help them prepare for work than writing them off to a life on benefits,” he said.

The government’s Access to Work scheme also offers support in making workplaces more accessible for disabled members of staff, as well as helping disabled people get to and from work. The programme was recently extended by the government.

One way companies may need to change their workplaces to make them accessible for disabled people is to add ramps at entrances so wheelchair users can get inside.

IT is another area where accessible technology is becoming more common, allowing disabled people to work alongside others in a regular workplace.

Kirsty McHugh, chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association, stated the body is pleased to be a part of the government’s new group for the Work Programme.

“This group will help providers share expertise in order to boost performance and support the hardest to help individuals on the Work Programme into lasting jobs,” she said.

One woman who has benefited from the scheme is Amy Powell, 23, who was unemployed for two years due to suffering from depression.

She explained tailored one-to-one support meant she was treated like an individual and not just a number. She now works as a catering assistant in a children’s play centre.