Team of the Year – Disability and health – Sponsored by The Digital College 

Established in 2011, The Digital College, designs, develops and delivers accredited online vocational training courses.

  • Employment and skills courses
  • Job hunting and career progression
  • Industry specific training
  • Construction CSCS cards and compliance

Team that has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment

  • 3SC’s Neuro Diverse Strategy Coaching Team
  • Neuro Diverse Strategy Coaching is increasingly recognised by the DWP and the combined authorities as a highly effective tool to help JCP clients stay in employment. Neuro diverse is a broad term to describe clients whose brains work differently from most individuals and typically strategies are devised to help individuals with ADHD, ASD, OCD, dyslexia and Tourette’s to perform better in the workplace. But 3SC’s team of 25 NDSC coaches across the UK is not trying “to fix” people; on the contrary the coaches draw out clients’ personal strengths for the benefit of the employer’s business. At the same time, the strategies secure the individual improvements in employability skills such as timeliness, team working and task management. The coaching team have a clear approach which starts with asking the client ‘where do they want to be?’. They have a coaching plan which often sets out SMART goals for the client and progress made after the previous session is carefully recorded. They will quickly establish with the client’s current situation, what needs changing and offer the client logical choices. A major factor behind the positive outcomes is being innovative. Sharing best practice between the coaches on Teams calls is hugely advantageous and 3SC encourages coaches to buddy up. We have also designed our own IT portal, which is bespoke to the programme, to exchange ideas and experiences. There is an online library which we populate with TED talks, papers and videos. This is vital because resources on neuro diverse conditions are still relatively limited, especially those tailored for the workplace. YouTube videos can be shared with clients. They can help transform mindsets, diets and the taking of exercise. Another reason for success is a close working relationship with the employer and co-coaching is not unusual.
  • Sixteen Co-operative Supported Employment Service
  • Launched in 2012, Sixteen Co-operative Ltd provides employment, education and enterprise for learning disabled and/or autistic people interested in finding paid employment. Named after legacy welfare benefits rules where working 16 hours or more per week signalled a transition to independence, Sixteen currently support over 300 people on their pathway to and into work, Sixteen is a small company, but one that has a big impact. In the last ten years they have: • Supported 215 people into work (57% over 16 hours) • Sustained a 75% employment rate across 5 local supported internship programmes since 2012 • 75% of jobs were sustained for at least 6 months (data since 2017) • Worked with 382 employers to change the way they select, recruit and employ disabled people The team at Sixteen has had a significant impact on the employment support landscape locally, driving up standards and informing individuals, employers, commissioner and families of the efficacy of robust supported employment provision. They insist on the delivery of high quality, evidence informed support and deliver services rooted in the continuous training and development of their team staff members. Sixteen understand and celebrate close links with the wider skills and employability sector, working with schools, employers and individuals to promote and evidence good practice in supporting disadvantaged people into work Sixteen offer valuable support to employers which enables them to explore the business benefits of employing learning disabled and autistic people and have an enviable track record of engaging, influencing and working with local businesses. In doing so they fully understand the importance of maintaining high aspirations and in responding to the needs of individuals they work with have developed a significant reputation among local employers for quality, consistency and reliability.
  • The Working Win Team, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  • Working Win provides holistic employment support for people with mild to moderate mental health and physical health conditions to find, stay and thrive in work across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. It’s funded by the Government’s Work and Health Unit, and delivered by South Yorkshire Housing Association in partnership with the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and local NHS partners. Working Win started as one of the world’s largest randomised control trials for Individual Placement support. Over four years it’s supported 5,707 people, and achieved 2,977 outcomes, including finding new jobs, retaining roles or returning to work. Our team of 48 employment specialists work in geographical sub-teams to support customers on a one-to-one basis to understand how their health impacts their working lives. We use a strengths-based approach, focusing on capabilities, highlighting skills and interests and quickly finding employment that matches their preferences. Critically, we embed health and wellbeing coaches in our teams. They’re allied health professionals, typically occupational therapists or counsellors and provide 1:1 support to customers and advise our employment specialists. The team effectively link with employers, health partners and community organisations to deliver the support and signpost to a fast-track Citizens Advice service. The team are also able to offer free access to Westfield Health and Vitality Rewards to take care of customer’s wellbeing. Having a diverse team is very important to us and has allowed us to reach a more diverse group of customers. The support the team provides in many cases is life changing for customers, equipping them with the tools to overcome barriers, instil confidence and meet their employment goals. The team also often comment on how inspiring their customers are. They’re a passionate, hard-working and empathetic team, constantly striving towards the best possible outcome for their customers.
  • West Lothian Council’s Supported Employment Service
  • West Lothian Council, Supported Employment Service was established to provide specialist employability support to local residents with additional support needs, health conditions or a disability who face additional barrier to finding and sustaining employment. Our council recognised the need for a designated employability service. Main aim of the development of the service was to improve the lives of disabled or ASN residents in West Lothian through access to meaningful employment opportunities. The impact on individual’s well-being and sense of self cannot be quantified, but their increased confidence and the diversity they bring to the local workforce is something which benefits the whole community. The service also advises local employers regarding recruitment support or retaining existing employees, equality and diversity and disability confidence. Individuals work one to one with staff to identify barriers and are offered an individually tailored solution to move them towards paid employment. This will be different for everyone. Since inception the team have developed appropriate group sessions as well as individual training to build employability confidence as well as a range of practical skills. Supported Employment provide a full range of employability services as well as job coaching, ongoing in-work support including future support if participants want to move to another job in the future. The service also supports local employers to recruit or retain staff who develop additional support needs, health issues or a disability by providing advice around reasonable adjustments and current legislation in relation to equality, diversity and inclusivity. Through employer engagement, the service secures partnerships with local businesses to offer participants work experience or work trails. Always developing, the service delivers new initiatives and works to build strong relationships with the wider business community always promoting the benefits of employing a diverse workforce that reflects local communities and society in general.
  • Talking Matters Warrington Employment Support Team – nominated by Mental Health Matters
  • An Employment Support Team working within Warrington’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health service, the Employment Advisors are not only on the front lines of employment support provision, but are working with people who are also contending with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. Understandably, this also means that the team supports a wide range of people in a wide range of situations; vulnerable adults, people with long term physical health conditions, physical disabilities, difficult home situations, difficult financial situations and much more. Moreover, the team has adapted and thrived through the uncertainty and change brought about by COVID-19, lockdowns and the subsequent ‘return to normal’ to continue to deliver a quality service as can be evidenced by the client feedback.
  • Hackney Council’s Supported Employment Service
  • Hackney’s supported employment team are a small team supporting residents with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health conditions to gain and sustain paid employment. The team provide very personalised support and help with CVs, job applications, preparing for interviews, accessing work trial, disclosing health conditions, reasonable adjustments, and confidence building. They are also proactive in developing partnerships and linking service users to broader council support and specialist external support to address wider barriers to work like rent arrears and debt advice. They always go the extra mile and where required will accompany clients on their first day of work. They have also established and coordinated a popular programme of workshops for service users focused on employability, well-being, and building confidence. They support good numbers of residents with complex barriers into jobs in sectors like retail, hospitality, administration, technology, and construction. They do a lot of cross-team working and have increased progression outcomes on the Project Search Programme following joined-up work with the Supported Internship team. They are also proactive in helping the council and external employers to become more disability confident and regularly receive outstanding feedback from clients which highlights the life-changing impact they have on residents.
  • Fedcap Health and Wellbeing Team
  • Fedcap’s Health and Wellbeing team is a vital resource for customers and colleagues across the whole company.   Almost nine in ten job seekers who have received the team’s support say it has helped move them closer to a job – as well as improving their health.  The team works “on the front line” with Employment Advisers, providing tailored, work-focused one-to-one support and group sessions to help customers to manage their health conditions and overcome any health-related barriers to employment.   The team is a vital resource to our advisers, enabling them to progress their customers into work faster. An internal impact evaluation found that for customers referred to the health and wellbeing service, almost twice as many got into work compared to a control group of customers not referred to the service. Plus, the team delivers significant improvements in people’s wider health and wellbeing issues.   The team drive new projects in response to identified need. For example, running a pilot project providing intensive support to female sex workers, progressing them towards employment.  They also step in to deal with challenging situations, for example, Health and Wellbeing Adviser Melissa Bridgwood used her training and experience to talk down a customer in our Kilmarnock office who was threatening to harm a member of his family – protecting staff and customers.   The team also use their skills and resources to support Fedcap’s workforce, through monthly “WeCare” sessions, offering tools and resources to manage mental and physical health. They have developed a new Wellbeing Centre for staff, with videos, advice and tips, and created a new mental health awareness week sharing expert advice covering topics such as loneliness and exercise.  The team are all passionate Disability Confident champions and have used their multi-disciplinary approach to support and validate other organisations to become Disability Confident leaders. 


disability and health award