Colebridge Trust

GUEST BLOG: Chet Parmar, CEO of Colebridge Trust

Recently, I attended a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) meeting, facilitated by Deloitte in Birmingham. As one of a number of representatives for SME / social economy / employers, and also as an organisation that has worked extensively with economically inactive people for over 20 years.

In a nutshell, a new programme to support people with long-term health conditions and disabilities back into work (as well as other groups, such as ex-offenders) is soon to be launched. Part of the programme will be to help the same groups to retain and progress in employment as well.

The involvement of employers is clearly vital for this to work and the consensus was that there needed to be better employer support than previous programmes and a need to help SME employers to manage risk. We live in a world of productivity and results, but we also live in a country that believes in inclusion and the sharing of opportunity… part of what makes us progressive as a society. There’s willing – we just need to do a little bit to enable and provide confidence to employers.

I took the opportunity to highlight the great work that charitable organisations do, with community anchor organisations having extensive employment and skills support experience and certainly huge amounts of health and wellbeing support experience. The latter tackling many of the multiple barriers that some people face.

At a recent meeting between social economy organisations, concern was expressed at the risk to the sustainability of key organisations, if commissioning arrangements favoured larger organisations and / or ignored the local anchor organisations that have helped their communities into jobs and training over many years. The same organisations that supported local people during COVID.

It was great to hear from employers who have already tried different approaches to ensure that they are sharing opportunities with a diverse group of people. Many have also adapted recruitment processes to provide a fair chance for somebody to get through the selection process.

There are hugely talented and motivated individuals who simply fluff selection processes. Also, masses of potential in potential employees that can be unlocked through doing things differently and providing in-work support.

To those employers who do this well done! Please do take-up opportunities to support other organisations (you could start with suppliers and customers).

Chet Parmar | CEO, Colebridge Trust | Connect

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