Opportunities Unlimited at Tex Plastics

After attending a North Devon ‘Disability Confident’ event hosted by Pluss, Kevin Payne Operations Manager at Tex Plastics Barnstaple arranged a meeting to explore how Tex Plastics could take part in the ‘Opportunities Unlimited’ welfare-to-work programme.

14th January 2019

‘Opportunities Unlimited’ is a new model of ‘The Work and Health Programme’ by the Department of Work and Pensions developed by Pluss 

Pluss are an award winning Social Enterprise that supports thousands of people with disabilities and other disadvantages move into employment each year. It provides specialist support for those with a health condition or disability, or those who are long-term unemployed. The key principle is to provide help with accessing the right support, so these people can find work and build a career. 

Pluss helped us answer the typical questions businesses have considering ‘Opportunities Unlimited’

Pluss provided a ‘Change Management Coach’ called Heather to discuss the programme, and answer the many questions businesses have when potentially taking on someone with a health condition or disability. This including the obvious concern of health and safety in the workplace, what the potential roles available might look like in a plastic injection moulding company – and how, if we agreed – we’d move forward. The great thing from our perspective was the expert help and guidance provided by Pluss and Heather, and as a result of this we decided to sign up to a trial of the programme. 

It’s a ‘win-win’ for the business and trainee

As part of the Work Choice Programme, prospective trainees are offered ‘a Traineeship’ when Pluss sign up a host employer, then makes the opportunity available to suitable participants. Traineeships are designed to provide the time with the host employer to learn new ‘job relevant skills’ and develop ‘employability skills’ that might take a little more time than those without barriers.  During this six month period, Pluss pays the participant for 16 hours per week at national minimum wage. 

CV’s vetted 2 trainees were taken on a one week trial

The CV’s of several potential candidates were sent through and we shortlisted and interviewed who we felt were the most suitable. As a result we offered 2 people the opportunity to complete a week’s work trail.  After a successful week, they were both offered an ‘Opportunities Unlimited’ traineeship. Heather made regular visits to ensure both the managers, employers and participants had the resources needed to make the engagement a success. Based upon this success, Tex Plastics took on another Traineeship and after a very successful six months it is likely we will offer employment for all three participants.

Tex Plastics Barnstaple, Disability Confident Employer

“Heather recommended that we consider the Disability Confident Scheme, as we had successfully demonstrated being able to support people with disabilities and health issues participate in the traineeship – and helped them gain meaningful employment. I’m proud to say that Tex Plastics Barnstaple is now a Disability Confident Employer. Following on from this, our colleagues at Tex Plastics, Derby are exploring their local version of the ‘The Work and Health Programme’ by the Department of Work and Pensions and how to gain Disability Confident Employer status.”

Kevin Payne, Operations Manager at Tex Plastics Barnstaple

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