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(l-r) Mary Busk of charity Interface, Kunle Olaifa, treasurer of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce, MP Lee Scott, Gary Diamond, of Barkingside Traders' Association, Asia Fazal, of Interface, and Cllr Alan Weinberg
by Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Thursday, October 11, 2012
A pioneering scheme to help young disabled people into work is coming closer to fruition and is already attracting the attention of other councils.
Ilford North MP Lee Scott has been working with Redbridge Council and Interface, a Redbridge forum for parents with disabled children, to develop a three-year pilot.
He met with businesses backing the scheme in Barkingside on Friday, including the Redbridge Chamber of Commerce and the Barkingside Traders’ Association.
Mr Scott said: “I genuinely believe it will work. “There will be setbacks, some young people it doesn’t work out for. It’s the same with anyone applying for a job.
“I know [Redbridge] council has been contacted by councils in Westminster and Bristol who are interested in the project.”
Council officers, working with parents, have identified 20 young people with special needs eligible for the scheme and big name employers including Barclays and the Metropolitan Police are involved.
Both are considering placing young people on their apprenticeship schemes.
Under the plans, the first candidates will be placed in jobs in January.
The cost of salaries will be met by businesses and training and mentorship will be offered through the scheme.
A draft budget of between £150,000 and £200,000 has been drawn up and philanthropic donations will be sought.
Mr Scott said mentors would need to be employed.
MP Esther McVey, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for work and pensions, met Mr Scott, council leader Cllr Keith Prince and cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Alan Weinberg, along with businesses, to hear about the plans last month.
The group also heard from a young man hoping to gain work.
Gary Diamond, of the Toyology store in High Street, Barkingside, said: “He said ‘give us a chance.’ It’s helping young people to have a reason to get up in the morning.”
Barkingside Traders’ Association is planning a fundraising quiz on November 1.
Write to Mr Scott at The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.