New Employment and Health Support for Greater Manchester Residents with Disabilities

  • Thursday, May 9, 2024
GCE WWISPC Social Customers
  • The Growth Company delivers Working Well: Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care (WWIPSPC) across Greater Manchester.
  • The programme aims to help adults with physical and/or mental health disabilities into – or back into – sustained employment.
  • Over 600 people have registered to receive tailored employment support within the first six months. 

A new programme dedicated to providing employment support for people with disabilities is creating positive outcomes across Greater Manchester.

Delivered by the Growth Company and commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Working Well: Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care aims to help Greater Manchester residents with physical or mental health disabilities into sustained employment – or provide them with support to stay in or return to their current job.

Since the phased launch began in September 2023, over 600 people have registered to receive tailored employment support, 188 of whom have successfully gained a new job or received help to stay in their current role. 

The initiative, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), follows the "place, train, and maintain" model. This model focuses on providing individual participants with flexible one-to-one support throughout their journey. This support includes guidance on how to write a CV, apply for jobs, receive career advice, and get follow-up assistance once they have secured or resumed paid work.

In addition, it emphasises direct and ongoing engagement with employers. This engagement aims to help individuals thrive in their workplace by making necessary adjustments and supporting them in managing their health conditions in a work setting.

Working alongside local referral organisations, including GPs and councils, WWIPSPC helps individuals overcome barriers to sustained employment. The programme continues to grow and has already seen positive outcomes for both employers and participants.

Lee's Story: Finding Work

One of these participants is Lee, who was referred to the service while unemployed and experiencing anxiety about the value of his university degree and prospect of not securing a graduate job.

Supported by his WWIPSPC employment specialist, Lee was given advice on finding work, including feedback on his CV and the job application process, from supporting documents to interview techniques. They also provided guidance on setting up a business and finding vacant retail space. This support resulted in Lee being offered an internship at the University of Salford.

Lee is still on the programme while receiving in-work support. He said: “I’m happy that the team intend to support me for the foreseeable future – during and after the internship.”

Lee reserved special praise for his adviser: “Kate became my WWIPSPC worker around January and during the few weeks we worked together, we developed a fun, dynamic, and honest relationship.

“Having Kate support me for my internship interviews made me more focused and less stressed. Her backing was one of the reasons I received a job offer so quickly.”

Ellie's Story: Staying in Work

As well as helping people to find employment, WWIPSPC helps them stay in or return to their current roles – people like Ellie.*

Ellie was referred to WW:IPSPC after feeling overwhelmed at work, where she struggled to focus and manage tasks. She felt there was a lack of guidance and clear expectations in her role.

After being matched with employment specialist, Margo, the pair worked together to come up with a list of reasonable adjustments and requests for Ellie’s employer, including setting up a process for managing tasks, focus times, and developing meeting agendas.

These small changes made a huge difference to Ellie, who now feels much more confident, comfortable, and focused in the workplace. 

Reflecting on the support she received, Ellie said: “Working with Margo has been a really nice experience. I didn’t know such support existed for people like me, who struggle to advocate for themselves.”

Helping People and Employers Realise Their Potential

Alex Howley, Operations Director at the Growth Company, said: “In a short space of time, WWIPSPC has already had a positive impact on the lives of so many people facing barriers to employment.

“Programmes such as this are a vital resource for people who have every desire to work but are often left with no choice other than unemployment or long-term sickness, due to a lack of adequate support. Through our tailored, person-centred approach, we have seen people return to work, find new employment, and have engaged with employers to support employees with disabilities and help them thrive in the workplace. 

“WWIPSPC helps people realise their potential and build on their skills while supporting their health and wellbeing. We look forward to engaging with many more participants and employers as it continues to go from strength to strength.” 

WWIPSPC will run until March 2025 and the team encourages both individuals seeking support and referral organisations to get in touch.

Find Out More

To find out how the WWIPSPC programme can support your employees, visit the programme's web page

The Growth Company

The Growth Company is an award-winning social enterprise with a 30-year history of enabling growth, creating jobs, and improving lives.

We help people and businesses across the UK to develop, grow, and succeed through a range of employment, skills, and business support services. We provide employment, justice, and health services across Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire and Humber.

Contact us today to find out more. 

*Name changed for anonymity. 

Working Well: Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care (IPSPC) is commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and funded by UK Government. The programme is delivered across Greater Manchester by The Growth Company in partnership with Groundwork and will support up to 1,500 individuals between September 2023 and March 2025.