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What we do
Forwards is an all age, all disability service; supporting people with disabilities achieve their employment dreams. Forwards can provide career help to identify skills and job goals, improve confidence, manage anxiety and overcome barriers. Anyone can come to Forwards if they have a disability, health condition or need some support to gain confidence.
We work closely with a number of partners, from health providers to employers and voluntary bodies. Forwards provides access to all of the many organisations who can help with all aspects of returning to work, including money and budget management, debt advice and benefits advice. We’re also here to help those facing challenges whilst in employment or employers who have job opportunities or require advice on how to provide disabled access.
The Forwards service is comprised of:
- Our 1:1 service with specialist Job Brokers across the county - offering intensive support to individuals known to Adult Social Care. Job brokers meet with their customers on a regular basis, sourcing work experience placements to increase confidence and develop work skills, whilst also engaging with local employers to identify suitable paid opportunities. Customers are also offered bespoke courses to prepare them for the world of employment. Find out who your local job broker is here
- Our link to Education - starting from schools and colleges, Forwards recognises the importance of raising aspirations from an early age. Our Education Link Advisor works with local schools and colleges across the county, offering specialist workshops for students from 14+. These workshops focus on work skills, introduce the idea of CVs, having interview practice and the importance of work experience placements to boost confidence. Our Education Link Advisor also works with a number of students on a 1:1 basis, to find suitable weekend or holiday employment whilst studying at school or college.
- Our Fowards Work Clubs - delivering a focussed 12 week programme for anyone over the age of 18, with a disability or health barrier wishing to find paid employment in a group setting. To find out more about our Work Clubs, click here.
- Our 1:1 service for those accessing Health - Forwards also works alongside NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. The service offers one to one support for people who have individual funded care and have expressed an interest in voluntary or paid work. The Intensive Support Job Broker can support anyone who is finding it difficult to overcome health- related concerns or barriers into work.
- Our Navigator Developer - Forwards also works in partnership with GEM (Going the Extra Mile). The Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Project aims to engage with and support individuals in Gloucestershire who are currently dealing with circumstances that are potentially causing barriers to work and move these people closer towards education, training, volunteering or work, including self-employment. The GEM Project will reconnect people with their local services and ultimately help them achieve their desired work based outcome through an individual personalised action plan. This programme is a unique partnership of community based organisations, managed by Gloucestershire Gateway Trust on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council. The GEM Project is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund. To find out more about the GEM project, you can visit their website.
Our Aims and Raising Aspirations
At Forwards, we recognise that disability comes in many forms, and it may not be the only barrier to employment. When financial, practical or emotional concerns stand in the way, we offer a wide range of resources and programmes to help increase diversity in the work place.
Many employers are not taking advantage of the talented pool of disabled candidates who are looking for work. Around 18% of the working population have a disability. Organisations are missing out on the many cultural and financial benefits of increased diversity in their staff.
We fully believe that everyone deserves a chance, and everyone deserves an opportunity.
See what some local young people said when we asked what their work dreams were. We know that everyone has the same dreams about work and that we should be encouraging and helping them achieve their ambitions and aspirations.
With so many myths surrounding disabled people, we aim to increase disability awareness.
- Directly affecting 1 in 5 people, and many more indirectly, disability is not a marginal issue.
- More than 75% of disabled people acquire their disability as adults and are at risk of losing their jobs. In fact, keeping a newly disabled person in employment has a cost benefit of over 2½ times an employer's investment.
- Organisations that cater for the needs or disabled people have 30% less sickness absences than the national average.
- Disabled people are a consumer group that spend £80 billion a year in the UK alone. Organisations that are disability friendly open themselves up to this powerful marketplace.
- A graduate with a work-limiting disability is more likely to be lacking, but wanting work than an unqualified person with no disability.
- A society that works together to embrace disability benefits everyone.