A campaign to help more disabled people into work is underway in Huddersfield as figures show a general rise in unemployment in Huddersfield.
Jobcentre staff are leading the initiative – Disability Confidence – which aims to make more employers aware of the contribution people with disabilities can make to their businesses.
Jo Ledgard, Kirklees operations manager for Jobcentre plus, said the campaign was part of the Government drive to help more disabled people get into work as official figures showed that 76% of working people with a disability or health condition felt they faced problems in the workplace.
She said: “The campaign aims to help employers make the most of the talents of disabled people, increase their understanding of disability and remove barriers to disabled people getting into work. We are talking to employers and looking at what support they need.”
So far 19 employers in Huddersfield have signed up to Disability Confidence which sets them on the path to offering work experience or work placements to disabled jobseekers and becoming Disability Leaders supporting other employers onto the scheme.
Jo said: “The campaign is still in its early stages. We are going out and promoting it to employers. We hope this will help employers and local people who may feel there are barriers to them getting into work.”
Details of the scheme came as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that UK employment rose by 324,000 to a record 32m in the three months to May.
Unemployment fell during the period by 64,000 to 1.49m, the lowest level since 2005. In Yorkshire and Humber, the number fell by 9,000 to 130,000 or 4.8% of the workforce – the lowest level since 2005.
UK-wide, the number of people on the so-called claimant count rose by 6,000 last month to 829,000.
The claimant count for Huddersfield rose during June to 1,940, up by 45 on May and 110 higher than a year ago. The Colne Valley figure was down by 10 on the previous month at 1,100, but up by 15 higher than the same month last year.
Jo said the increase partly reflected an increase in the number of people found fit for work under the government’s welfare reforms and coming off Employment Support Allowance.
However, the number of 18 to 24-year-old claimants fell in Huddersfield and Colne Valley. The June figure of 370 for Huddersfield is down by 50 on a year ago while the Colne Valley total of 235 is 20 fewer than for June last year.