Sewell Facilities Management has been shortlisted for a national award after creating paid employment and training opportunities for individuals with a learning disability.

The business joined forces with the Humber branch of the national charity Mencap to establish the Abilities in Facilities partnership in April 2017 and has now been named as one of three finalists shortlisted in the Impact on Society category at the BIFM Awards 2018.

The awards reflect the outstanding people, projects, initiatives and innovations happening in facilities management, and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in October.

Since Abilities in Facilities was established, more than 30 people from the charity have directly benefited, with four gaining paid cleaning jobs in offices and schools across Hull, and others benefiting from work experience opportunities or learning interview techniques to help them progress into work elsewhere.

Work experience placements to date include some individuals based at the new £9 million Jean Bishop Integrated Care Centre built by Sewell in East Hull.

The individuals have autism, mild and moderate learning disability, and mild learning differences, and Sewell staff have undergone specific training to help them progress and feel supported within their roles, opening up secure opportunities in the world of work.

Sewell Facilities Management staff have also taken part in a local feasibility study and supported Mencap with dispelling myths around working with someone with a learning disability, while also helping to raise awareness at events for young people and employers.

The business offers specific vacancies to those involved in Abilities in Facilities and ensures they feel comfortable in the interview and work trial environment.

Sewell is now encouraging other businesses to link up with Mencap to grow the partnership within their own organisations, opening up more opportunities for individuals supported by the charity.

Managing Director Martin Stead said: “The individuals who have been involved in Abilities in Facilities have really grown in confidence and self-esteem since the partnership began, which is fantastic to see.

“We’re really proud of what has been achieved so far and we’re looking forward to building on it. But we know other businesses could do the same and we’d love to share how Abilities in Facilities works if anyone would like to know more.

“This partnership has the potential to be an even bigger success and we’d love to see that happen for Mencap and those they support.

“Our long term objective is to eventually have individuals from Mencap in every Sewell Facilities Management cleaning team across the Yorkshire region.”

Visit here for more information about the award and Abilities in Facilities.

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