Journey to Employment (J2E), is a national scheme funded by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The scheme offers unemployed disabled people and those with long term health conditions specialist support in taking their next steps towards employment, education and training.
WECIL is over six months into delivering the initial pilot in Bristol and we have already seen some fantastic results for the disabled people we are supporting. Over half of participants have gone into paid jobs, training, voluntary positions or work experience during or after the course.
The programme includes a twelve week course, delivered by our Community Employment Specialist, Julie, and takes a holistic view of the challenges a disabled person can face in seeking employment.
Julie, a disabled person herself with lived experience of job-seeking, also provides one-to-one coaching and advice alongside the more traditional workshops such as interview preparation and CV writing.
Partnerships have been made with local businesses and organisations to secure volunteer placements, work-experience and training opportunities for participants that could lead to paid employment.
One of these is Central Bristol area Boots the Chemist, where participants from the first course undertook work experience in December. Boots were so impressed that some were offered seasonal work over the busy Christmas season – an essential step back into employment and confidence boost for the participants.
Alex Stacey, General Manager at Boots’ Broadmead store says:
“From my point of view supporting people to get back into work or support people to keep working is really rewarding. By working with a charity it's another route for us to find people who want to work.
“One J2E client, Leslie, joined our Christmas team as a temporary employee, she brought with her a wealth of experience of working with people and we found her willing to do any task, which she would always put her all into. I know she enjoyed her time with us and we enjoyed having her work with us on our gift department.”
Other work-experience opportunities have been offered at Bristol Airport, who are often recruiting, and looking to ensure that disabled staff are well supported.
Dave, a participant who had been out of work for over 10 years and has physical impairments has decided to train as a counsellor while being on the course. Meanwhile he has been working voluntarily on the WECIL advice line for disabled people.
“This course has enabled me to get my life back on track. Having Julie as a Tutor has been a huge asset – she has a vast amount of experience and the patience of a saint! It has been invaluable to me.”
The success of this course shows just what can be achieved if the business and voluntary community work together, and disabled people are recognised fairly for their skills, experience and positive attributes. We look forward to continuing the programme and welcome new participants and partners in the programme.
For more information on WECIL’s J2E programme, including how to refer people, go to the J2E page on our website.