Disability charity delivers on employment training

qefQueen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) has released figures that show its success at helping disabled people into the workplace is going from strength to strength, improving on previous years, and continuing to be one of the most successful options available, outstripping the DWP’s similar Work Choice programme’s results by a significant margin.

QEF is a Surrey based charity that offers a range of services for people with disabilities, including the Vocational Services section that helps to train disabled people who are out of work.

From 2011 to 2014, QEF Vocational Services saw 32% of its trainees find sustained employment within six months of completing their training. Work Choice’s equivalent results were 22%, which means that QEF’s programme is nearly half again more successful than Work Choice.

These figures are taken from the official returns that QEF makes to the Department for Work and Pensions, but they don’t tell the whole story of how QEF has helped people that come through its doors for employment training. So, to find out more about how everyone is doing now, QEF carried out a survey of trainees who attended between 2011 and 2014.

In addition to the officially returned figure of 32% of trainees finding sustained work within six months, the results of QEF’s 2011-2014 Vocational Services trainee survey showed that:

  • 62% of trainees who returned the survey are now in work, education, or doing voluntary work
  • 56% are in paid work or employment now
  • Of those that are not in work or studying now, 6% reported that this was due to their disability or medical condition worsening
  • 41.5% found work, became self-employed, or went on to further study or voluntary work within six months
  • 36% found paid employment or became self-employed within six months (for some this may be short term or not sustained, or they may have moved between different jobs)
  • Of those in work, 35% are in part time work, 67% are in full time work

Comments that trainees added include:

  • “Being at QEF was one of the best things I have done and achieved in my life.”
  • “QEF does more than just find people jobs. It gives people back their confidence.”
  • “QEF has turned my life around and I’m very grateful. Without QEF I don’t think I’d be in a job.”

When a similar survey was carried out in 2011, the percentage of trainees who responded that they were in work was 53%, with the number who responded that they had found work within six months was 31%.

These figures come as the DWP is opening the specialist training sector up to competitive tendering. The usual route to Work Choice or specialist employability support, such as QEF Vocational Services is via a Jobcentre Plus disability employment adviser, but the DWP has indicated that it will open up more gateways to the service.

Jonathan Powell, QEF’s CEO commented: “First, I’d like to congratulate all of our trainees who have found work, and the team in our Vocational Services division that have done so much to achieve these results. We deliver a more intensive programme than Work Choice, and as a result are often referred people who are considered more difficult to help than those who go into Work Choice, so these figures are very welcome.

“I feel that it is important to recognise and acknowledge the longer term outcomes that our survey is reporting, as well as the ‘soft outcomes’ of more people going into education or volunteering after they have been to QEF, not just the figures we report back to the DWP on sustained employment achieved within six months.

“In regards to the coming changes, it’s clear that the government has recognised the importance of specialist employability support and hopefully opening up the marketplace will mean that more people with disabilities can be supported into employment. We’re now keen to prove our value for money and put it to the commercial test.

“As a charity, we’re in a good position to do this, because any surpluses we make are reinvested into the service, we can fundraise for capital projects rather than having to seek money from investors, and from an ethical point of view, our long legacy of working in this area means we want to support people who are the most difficult to help, whereas a profitmaking provider may be tempted to prioritise those who are easiest to find work for.”

For more information on QEF please visit www.qef.org.uk

About Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People

Based in Surrey, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) is a national charity working with over 4,000 disabled children and adults every year with physical or learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries. Whether it is gaining new life skills for living independently, providing assistive equipment, rebuilding a life affected by brain injury, training for employment or acquiring the skills to drive a specially adapted car, QEF helps people to achieve their goals in life and realize their potential. www.qef.org.uk

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