Help to Work Plus Conference 2013

    The EU-funded Help to Work Plus initiative hosted a major conference - The Added-Value of Partnership Working conference - in Chesterfield on 19 November 2013.

    The conference marked the culmination of the Help to Work Plus project which tested partnership working through direct delivery of support to local disabled people as part of the EU PARES initiative.

    Keynote Speaker - Councillor Eion Watts, Leader of Bolsover District Council and Chairman of the Idustrial Communities Alliance

    Eion opened the session with his very personal and straightforward approach to the challenges facing people with long-term health conditions and disabilities when trying to get back to work. His leadership and personal commitment is vital to making improvements.


    Disabled people in Bolsover District and Chesterfield Borough - Now and in the Future

    This collection of key data was included in the delegate pack and has been updated with 2011 Census figures. It covers the exceptionally high levels of disabled people locally and why improving their employment prospects has such significance for the local economy and communities. Paper

    John Coxon - Office for Disability Issues

    John explained how he is implementing Government strategy to fulfill the potential of disabled people. He also gave the first public viewing of the newly launched "Disability Confident" video aimed at employers and now available on YouTube - worth promoting to your own employer contacts and internal HR Teams.

    Disability Confident Video

    Alison Corbett - Help to Work Plus Project Manager, Shaw Trust 

    Alison described the success of the project engaging nearly 200 local disabled residents and succeeding in placing nearly 50 in to work. They were delighted that a number of clients attended the conference to celebrate their own successes - as shown in a special video commissioned for the event. Their personal stories and the difference in their lives was hugely moving and inspiring - so worth showing to your clients.



    Steps to Sucess is the partnership approach to how clients can progress to work - a simple visual image of the holistic support they may need.

    The Flexicurity paper describes how clients can sustain work and increase their employability in the face of future life-changing situations such as redundancy, onset of ill-health and more. Paper.

    Malen Davies - Researcher, Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion

    Malen of Inclusion summarised the external evaluation of the project and highlighted how well it reflects many of the elements of the EU PARES initiative.

    Summary paper

    Ruth Regan - Associate emcq and Lead Merlin Assessor

    Ruth demonstrated how the parternship activities and approach has closley echoed the Merlin Standard used by the Department of Work and Pensions throughout the Work Programme and other contracts.


    Eamon Davern - Department for Work and Pensions

    Eamon gave further insight in to how the partnership and project links with the EU PARES initiative: strengthening partnerships between public and private/third sector employment support providers.


    Throughout the day, delegates contributed their own knowledge and experience during a series of group discussions and over 300 individual comment sheets have collated in to just six pages with some key themese highlighted:

    Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of partnership working from the client's perspective
    Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of partnership working from the partner's perspective
    Political, economic, social and technological factors of partnership working

    Throughout the day lots of positive feedback was received and they are grateful to everyone who provided comments that showed 90% gained relevant knowledge that would be applicable in their work for the large majority.

    A short report on partnership activities has been created - paper. For a full copy with all Annexes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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