A new service to help provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with a disability is set to be launched in Devon.
The Disability Employment Hub is a collaboration between the Devon County Council (DCC), Learn Devon and Jobcentre Plus.
It seeks to build on ‘Ready When You Are’ campaign launched last year.
The initiative encouraged businesses to become ‘Disability Confident’ by considering employing people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues.
It also raised awareness of the advantages to employing people with disabilities and to highlight the wide range of support that is available to employers and candidates to help them with recruitment.
During the life cycle of the campaign that was launched in 2018, 144 businesses signed up to the Disability Confident initiative. Prior to this, there were 218 businesses with the designation.
The new Disability Employment Hub service will include training, a support network for employers and online information and resources.
Although it won’t be officially launched until 2020, the council will be unveiling details of the new employer support service on Purple Tuesday.
It will be the first that that DCC will play an active role in the Purple Tuesday event on November 12 that seeks to improve the customer experience for disabled people.
At a full council meeting on October 3, Councillor Rob Hannaford, leader of the Labour Group, asked how DCC will be supporting and promoting the Purple Tuesday campaign.
A DCC spokesperson said: “In support of Purple Tuesday, we will be unveiling details of our new employer support service, which we plan to launch early next year.
“We’re working in collaboration with Jobcentre Plus on this initiative as part of our commitment to improving employment and customer experience opportunities for disabled people.
“This hub service will build on the success of the Ready When You Are campaign in order to support employers and businesses to provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with a disability or long-term health condition.
“It will include training, a support network for employers and online information and resources.”
There are currently about 21,000 adults with a learning disability in Devon. The council’s social care services know about 3,500 of them and about eight per cent of those are in paid employment.
The national unemployment rate among people with disabilities is almost three times higher, around 9.1 per cent, than the equivalent among people without disabilities, which is about 3.6 per cent.