Employment Minister Mims Davies has praised efforts by employers and specialist service companies to bring more workers excluded by disability and mental health issues into employment.
The Mid Sussex MP recently opened the new headquarters of Thriiver, a West Sussex company that enables growth for individuals and organisations by championing diversity through innovation in training, coaching and technology.
Mims Davies saw demonstrations of some of the ways the company supports people into employment, or to thrive whilst at work or in education. They included assistive technology, which can boost productivity or support individuals with an impairment or neurodiversity such as dyslexia. She also watched a specialist coaching session working on specific skills to enhance job prospects.
“I was delighted to visit Thriiver today to see the invaluable work they are doing to support people searching for jobs, and helping them with accessibility whilst they are in employment,” she said.
“We want everyone who can work to find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market and it is organisations like Thriiver who are helping to make a crucial difference to people’s lives.
“The UK government has provided over £400 billion to support the economy including funding for DWP programmes like Kickstart, which has helped over 152,000 young people into employment, and Restart which helps break down employment barriers that could prevent people finding work.” she added.
Thriiver Chief Executive Lawrence Howard said: “There is a forgotten army of excluded workers who have a lot to contribute to our country, especially at a time of labour shortages. With the right help to boost their skills and confidence, they can prosper.”
For over 25 years, Thriiver, formerly known as Hands Free Computing, has provided software and assistive technology to help people with reading, writing and organising their working day. As well as training people how to use the systems, Thriiver also coaches teams in techniques to help employees reach their full potential.
Thriiver works with employees and their managers to find practical strategies to improve an individual’s confidence, communication skills, concentration and ability to cope with stress.
The company has developed a series of Pathfinder programmes that support individuals in regaining confidence in their own skills and abilities. Thriiver is already working with Serco and Jobs 22 to move people from welfare into work and is discussing further partnerships.
“We are dismantling the barriers and attitudes which hold people back so they can fulfil their personal potential in a fully inclusive society,” said Howard.
“And we are pleased to be involved in the DWP’s Restart and Kickstart programmes that support those who are out of work and those who are just starting their working lives.
“We have been supporting people with disabilities with technology, now we are using our expertise to offer a much wider range of services. Disabled people are real problem solvers – they have to be to overcome the barriers they face. Not only are they more loyal and less likely to take sick leave, but, with the right support, every bit as capable as any other employee.”
Hands Free Computing was founded in 1997 by Chief Executive Lawrence Howard as a technology company. The recent name change to Thriiver reflects the broader range of services the company is now offering to fully support employees, managers and business partners.
Thriiver’s mission has always been to help people achieve their best. And although technology remains very important to the company, it is now balanced by the company’s skills in training, coaching and an emphasis on mental health and disability awareness.
“We are not just helping those in work, but also those in education and those trying to find work. Further we are helping companies to understand the benefits of a more inclusive approach,” said Lawrence Howard.
“Helping businesses become more inclusive is a very personal business. The two ‘i’s in our name represent the interaction between at least two people, which is at the heart of everything we do.”
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