RNC successful in bid for major new DWP contract

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We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our bid for a major new contract with the Department of Work and Pensions. The £3million Specialist Employability Support (SES) contract is designed to provide people with a visual impairment with the skills, training and confidence to find permanent employment.

Sheila Tallon, RNC Principal, said ‘The SES contract is an important step in ensuring that every adult with a visual impairment has the tools they need to find work. For too long now the majority have struggled to find employment and we are delighted that DWP is addressing the issue head-on through this new contract.

‘We have an unmatched track record in supporting people with a visual impairment not simply in to a job, but in to the right job. We have delivered contracts of this nature for over 30 years and consistently out perform other programmes for people who are blind or partially sighted. What really excites us about this contract is that each client will receive support that is tailored to their personal needs rather than a ‘one size fits all’ package. That has always been the RNC approach but we will now be able to take it to a new level and reach more clients than ever before.’

The new contract will be delivered nationally, with clients accessing expertise, training and support in their home area through a network of local centres and from the central hub at RNC in Hereford. A range of options will be available, from immersive residential training for those who need to develop core skills such as mobility, to short refresher sessions to improve interview skills and learn new forms of assistive technology. Vocational training courses leading to careers in specific industries including IT, sport and leisure and the arts will be on offer, while other training will be a gateway to Work Choice or Work Programme.

Sheila added ‘We will also be working with employers to support them in hiring people who have a visual impairment. Many of the barriers they believe they will encounter melt away with the help of our expert staff, who can advise on everything from software to building access. Our clients learn to thrive in a mainstream environment and employers are often surprised by how few adaptations are required to open up their workplace. At a time when many businesses are crying out for skilled staff in areas such as IT, clients training in our Cisco Academy are developing industry-ready networking skills.’

In awarding the contract DWP cited RNC’s ‘vast experience in supporting customers with a range of visual impairments,’ understanding of labour market requirements and of the barriers clients face, and engagement with specialist charities and support groups across the country.

The new provision will be in place from 1 September 2015. Keep checking back on this website for full details of the training available and how to secure a place, which will be announced soon.

Article written by Lucy Proctor, Communications Director at RNC