Wigan targeted in new £1.3m pilot scheme to help disabled people get into work

Wigan is to become one of the new areas targeted in a pilot scheme to improve employment possibilities for the disabled and people with health conditions.
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The Department for Work and Pensions have invested £1.3m into the project which has been extended to 12 new areas – including the Greater Manchester borough. This comes after a successful pilot in Leeds.

The concept works through having an initial meeting with a health practitioner to help people with disabilities or long-term conditions into work.

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This conversation would identify barriers to employment and actions and support people to overcome them. The plan is then shared with their work coach to continue support to overcome their barriers and move them towards work.

These Employment and Health Discussions in Leeds left people feeling more confident about what they are able to do. The DWP believes this pilot represents a first step to help claimants understand where employment support is and how to access it.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride MP said: “We are pushing ahead with the next generation of welfare reforms to ensure benefit claimants get as much support as soon as possible to move towards work and the more prosperous life that brings.

“This pilot is an important part of that, helping people understand what they need to do to move towards employment through a simple and effective conversation. The findings will help us build the new disability benefits system once the Work Capability Assessment is removed later this decade.”

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Minister for Disabled People, Tom Pursglove MP, said: “We know that many people eager to return or start work face complicated barriers to making this a reality. Having an initial conversation with a supportive health professional can have a hugely positive influence on their confidence and help set them on the journey to sustainable employment.

“These voluntary discussions will offer new avenues to many people who are keen to enter the workplace and transform lives for the better.”

Other help includes Universal Support, an employment programme which will ramp up to support at least 50,000 people a year from 2025/26. The latest phase of this programme, backed by £53m, began across the country in September to provide personalised support to help more people with complex barriers into work with ‘on the job’ support.