Remploy warns better employer attitudes towards disabilities does not extend to mental ill health

Attitudes towards disabled people in the workplace are improving, but those with mental health problems are missing out, according to Remploy’s HR director.

The non-governmental public body, which finds employment for disabled people, has placed a record 5,000 disabled people into mainstream employment this year, and is making a big push to hit its target of 20,000 per year by 2010.

This week Remploy declared it was confident of meeting its aim after being encouraged by discussions with businesses.

“We have had really encouraging feedback from employers,” said Remploy’s HR director Anne Jessopp. “Attitudes are changing. We are now really positive about helping disabled people back into work.”

However, she sounded a note of caution.

“While the opportunities have expanded for people with physical disabilities, they are still much more limited for those with mental health problems,” said Jessopp. “This is an area where we really want to work with employers.”

Remploy, which receives an annual government grant of £111m, traditionally found disabled people work within its own factories. But with the decline in British manufacturing and the changing expectations of disabled people, these jobs are under threat.

However, the body has committed to redeploying any factory workers whose jobs are made redundant into mainstream employment when it produces its ‘modernisation plan’ early next year.

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