Employment: Hearing Impairment

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 27th June 2011.

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Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support his Department provides for deaf and hard of hearing people to help them enter employment; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department is implementing welfare to work reforms which aim to fight poverty, support the most vulnerable and help people, including deaf and hard of hearing people, to break any cycle of benefit dependency and to find employment.

Jobcentre Plus is committed to helping disabled people find a suitable, sustainable job in their local area through the support it delivers through its network of advisers. Advisers now have more responsibility to assess individuals' needs within local labour markets and to offer them the support they think is most appropriate, including a number of 'Get Britain Working' measures, designed to provide help for those seeking work or to move into self employment. The exact nature and range of help on offer, delivered in conjunction with local and national partner organisations, will vary from area to area as local managers have the discretion to deliver the services that they believe will help people in their area to secure work the most.

In addition, disability employment advisers can identify suitable job opportunities and act as an advocate for customers with employers, if appropriate. They will also aim to identify work solutions that will overcome or minimise difficulties relating to a customer's disability and can signpost customers and their employers to the Access to Work Service. Jobcentre Plus also has specialist programmes that help disabled people move into paid work, such as Residential Training and Work Choice. Disability employment advisers also use the professional expertise of work psychologists specialising in working with disabled people.

Underpinning 'Get Britain Working' is the introduction of the Work Programme which was launched on 1 June. The Work Programme will provide a single, personalised, welfare to work programme for all customer groups. It will be delivered through a combination of contracted employment provision via private, public and voluntary sectors as well as Jobcentre Plus led service delivery. The Work Programme will simplify the complex array of existing employment programmes and deliver coherent, integrated support, more capable of dealing with complex and overlapping barriers to work, providing personalised help for people who find themselves out of work regardless of the benefit they claim. Disability employment advisers will also be able to refer claimants to Work Programme where appropriate.

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