IF you’ve got a vacancy you just can’t fill, have you thought about contacting one of North East England’s three pilot programmes that are helping people to get off incapacity benefit and back to work?
The programmes in Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Easington – funded via regional development agency One NorthEast
and the Northern Way – can put you in touch with potential recruits with up-todate skills and training.
One organisation that has already had success from Sunderland’s Make It Work pilot programme – part of the
area’s Job Linkage service – is The City of Sunderland Council for the Disabled.
Ruth Findley hadn’t been in a job for a long time. Difficult family issues had left her distressed and lacking
confidence, but she knew getting back to work was key to taking control of her life. Make It Work helped her build up confidence by arranging specialist volunteer placements with Age Concern, and later with City of
Sunderland Council for the Disabled.
Several months on, the council has employed Ruth as a full staff member where she assesses the suitability of
properties for people with disabilities and runs the wheelchair loan scheme.
Ruth’s manager, Ann Storey said: “The only thing Ruth was lacking was confidence. Her people skills are absolutely fantastic – she’s exactly the sort of person this organisation needs and we would never have found her if Make It Work hadn’t approached us about a placement.
“Whilst they may not be the first method employers think of when they need to fill a vacancy, programmes like Make It Work are certainly a great way for employers to link with local people who are updating their skills
and want to return to work. We’d definitely try this route again if we’re looking for staff in the future.”
Lesley Roy from Make It Work said: “Ruth’s story is a fantastic example of how our programme can act as a
different path for employers to find the right people for their vacancies. Our clients have a real commitment to getting back into work and developing their skills, which can only be a bonus for employers.”