More than 800 disabled people in North Somerset want to work but are unable to find a job, but a new Government proposal hopes to make more work accessible to them.
With the help of the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), employers could soon receive more support to make their offices more suitable and accessible for disabled people.
Weston MP John Penrose believes the support from the Government could not have come at a more ‘perfect time’ with projects such as Dolphin Square, Hinkley Point C and Junction 21a bringing more jobs to Weston and the surrounding area.
He said: “It is about helping people with disabilities get job-ready skills and showing employers the – often pretty simple – changes they can make to the office or factory so disabled staff can perform at the top of their abilities too.
“Now is the perfect time to make sure people with disabilities are included properly too.”
The DWP will be working closely with Jobcentre Plus to provide support for people who are struggling to find a job due to health conditions or disability.
North Somerset Jobcentre manager James Macnaughton told the Mercury there are 1,250 people who are registered as being disabled with North Somerset Council and 820 job-seekers registered as having a disability or health condition.
He added: “There is an inadequate amount of disabled people in work which we are looking to change.”
Mr Macnaughton was pleased the Government has supported the Jobcentre’s work with its proposal and he is hopeful changes will be made to reduce the employment gap.
He added: “This is something that has been going down the pipeline for a while now and the support from the Government will really help.”
The North Somerset Jobcentre has a number of specialist advisors and coaches on staff which will provide support and guidance to disabled people who are at different stages.
He added: “We also look to help people who are not ready to work and get them out and about.”
The centre organises mock interviews to prepare its customers for employment as well as hosting job fairs and talks led by business owners.