A RECORD number of disabled people found jobs through specialist employment service Remploy last year, latest figures show.
Remploy, which operates a factory at Waterloo, found 6,600 jobs in UK mainstream employment for people with disabilities during the 12 months to the end of March – 27% up on the previous year.
Remploy’s branch at South Parade in Leeds accounted for more then 200 of the UK total.
Bob Warner, Remploy chief executive, said the “excellent” figures had been achieved at a time when Remploy was undergoing a major shake-up to put more focus on helping disabled people find jobs in mainstream employment.
Remploy came under fire from unions last year for closing a number of its factories and merging others as part of plans to find jobs for more disabled people.
Said Mr Warner: “These successes indicate that modernisation of the organisation is absolutely the right thing to do and we can now go on to find jobs for many more disabled people than before.
“These figures show that we are on course to meet our ambitious target that by 2012 we will be finding more than 20,000 jobs in mainstream employment every year for disabled people who experience complex barriers to work.”
The record figures include a 47% increase to 4,600 in the number of jobs filled under the Government’s Workstep programme – for those who experience the greatest barriers to finding and keeping a job.
More than 40% of people helped into work last year have a learning disability or mental health problem. Remploy said it was increasingly focused on providing specialist services for people who experienced complex barriers to work.
Remploy said the increase in job placements was being driven by expanding its network of recruitment branches. The company expects to have opened more than 30 branches this year with a further 45 planned by 2010.
About a fifth of the jobs which Remploy finds are administrative; 15% are in warehousing and logistics; and the remainder are in a wide range of sectors including manufacturing and machine operating, sales, retail, catering, hygiene and hospitality.