Partnership helps disabled jobseekers

Fourteen disabled and disadvantaged jobseekers in Stoke-on-Trent are celebrating being in work thanks to an innovative partnership between Co-operative stores and Remploy, the UK’s leading provider of specialist employment services.

The successful candidates, who are working at 10 Co-operative stores in Staffordshire, initially took part in a confidence boosting work placement scheme that gave them vital retail experience.

The initiative was the idea of Rob Leach, an Employment Advisor at Remploy’s Stoke-on-Trent office, who worked with local Co-operative managers to get the scheme off the ground.

“They were all very enthusiastic and could see the value of having a well structured work placement programme that provided jobseekers with comprehensive on-the-job training,” said Rob.

Three of the 14 candidates now have permanent jobs at the Co-operative store in Norton, Stoke-on-Trent. Store manager Stephen Preece said:  “Work placements are a great way to give disabled people a chance to grow in confidence and unlock potential. I am extremely proud to have three Remploy candidates working here, particularly as they reflect the community we serve.”

Ben Kendall, who has epilepsy, is one of Stephen’s new recruits. The 22-year-old said: “I was really happy with the service that Remploy provided. The work placement gave me an opportunity to learn all of the skills I needed and the support from the Co-operative has been fantastic.”

“Finding people with the right skills and attitude can be difficult,” added Stephen. “But this scheme gives candidates a chance to prove themselves while working and it enables me to give them a working interview. The results have been excellent and I would strongly recommend that all Co-operative stores participate in the scheme.”

Remploy’s Rob Leach is also keen to see the success replicated across the country. “Co-operative stores in Stoke have fully bought into the scheme, providing candidates with the support they need and treating them like valued colleagues. The results speak for themselves. A national rollout would help more disabled and disadvantaged people move into work.”

Remploy’s office in Stoke provides disabled and disadvantaged candidates with vital one-to-one support and a tailored action plan, including confidence building and advice about interview techniques.

Find out more about Remploy at or call 0845 155 2700.

Accessibility Tools

Discover more from Enable Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading