Access to Work Programme: Visual Impairment

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 6th September 2011.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has put in place to enable deafblind people to receive specialist support to access the labour market.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

New measures introduced in April 2011 allow Jobcentre Plus to offer more flexible support to deaf/blind people, ensuring provision is tailored to personal and local labour market needs.

This includes advice and support about maintaining well-being and managing health in preparation for a return to work

A flexible support fund has been created from a number of discretionary adviser funds and programmes targeted towards overcoming barriers to employment, which district managers can use to offer additional support according to local need.

The Work programme is a cross benefit programme that ensures providers are free to innovate and design support that addresses the needs of individuals. Work programme providers are paid more to support harder to help groups into sustained employment, including those claiming employment support allowance.

In addition, disabled people may be able to access a range of specialist employment provision including:

Work Choice which provides tailored support to help disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment, find and stay in work;

Access to Work which provides practical support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability;

Remploy Employment Services which delivers employment support for disabled people, including through the Work Choice programme and Remploy Enterprise Businesses—a network of 54 factories across the UK, providing supported employment to disabled people;

Residential Training, which is delivered through nine Residential Training Colleges, providing vocational training to unemployed disabled adults.

Jobcentre Plus disability employment advisers offer help with finding and retaining employment. Where appropriate, they can refer individuals to specialist programmes that help disabled people move into paid work, including Residential Training and Work Choice. They may also use the professional expertise of Work Psychologists specialising in working with disabled people if required. They can advocate with employers on the individual's behalf and help employers to explore job solutions such as the restructuring of a job's tasks or the environment, or the provision of, or change to equipment.

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