A NEW £40million scheme to unemployed disabled people into work has opened its doors with programmes starting in Bolton.

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme provides its clients with 21 months’ of tailored assistance.

Personalised support will be provided to help them overcome personal barriers through coaching, therapy sessions and confidence building activities.

The scheme then provides or arranges employment support such as skills, training and work experience placements.

For the first time this includes a key worker remaining in touch with participants who move into a job or start up their own business for the first six months.

The voluntary scheme is open to disabled people facing challenges getting into the workplace and unlikely to move into a role in the short-term, with the new support expected to benefit over 10,000 people.

It is also available to disabled people not receiving benefits.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “While we have seen record levels of disability employment, our priority is that every disabled person can access the support they need to reach their full potential and make the most of the opportunities out there.

"IPES is a voluntary scheme that transforms our employment support offer to those for whom employment seems a remote possibility and I would encourage anyone who thinks the IPES programme will benefit them to get in touch with a work coach at their local Jobcentre”

The programme will be offered through providers including Remploy, FedCap, Shaw Trust, Reed and The Growth Company.

Manchester-based The Growth Company is running the scheme in the North West.

Its chief executive Mark Hughes said: “I am delighted that the Growth Company has been chosen to deliver the Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) programme across The North West.

“In this region alone IPES will be supporting over 1,700 people with disabilities and complex barriers into sustainable employment. The programme will support people every step of the way – from initial consultancy through to gaining and sustaining employment. We will also provide in-work support for both the individual and their employer to ensure a fulfilled experience.

“The Growth Company offers a comprehensive package of support to help participants into work. This includes assessment of individual needs, confidence building, a personalised job search strategy, creation of a CV focused on strengths and experience, the opportunity to carry out relevant work experience, help with interview techniques and tailored in work support.”

The opening up of the new programme comes as the Government also announced plans to introduce a National Disability Strategy.

Since 2013, over 1.3 million more disabled people have moved into work with disability employment now the highest since records began.