Wiltshire County Council

Wiltshire County CouncilIMPRESS Project in Wiltshire

A new initiative was launched to provide effective post-employment support and skills development for individuals who had recently gained or re-gained employment or entered self employment following a period of 6 months or more unemployment. The initiative was part of a wider cross border collaboration project which has been delivered in parts of southern England and northern France funded through the European Union’s Channel Programme as well as Wiltshire Council’s Action for Wiltshire programme.

Project IMPRESS provided up to 18 months of post employment/self employment support to 275 Wiltshire residents. Typically, these individuals will have had to overcome or be in the process of overcoming multiple barriers to employment that thus far had impeded their progress. This process can often be a stressful period for the individual, who must learn to cope with new employment circumstances, an altered financial situation yet often combined with continued adverse personal circumstances.

If unsupported many are unable to successfully adapt to this new change in their lives and
unable to cope emotionally and socially after a long period of being out of work resulting in their “falling-out” of employment, frequent/prolonged sick leave or termination of contract within the first six months of engagement.

Project IMPRESS provided the support necessary for individuals to retain their job and to advance in employment, consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities and interests. The project also provided support to Wiltshire based employers,
including access to specialist employment skills including recruitment, career coaching, occupational health, skills development, employment law and human resources expertise.

Through the Employer Forums run by Wiltshire Council, employers have reported that there are barriers to recruiting people with learning difficulties/disabilities, mental health
conditions or from a benefit background, as they do not have the resources (i.e. money and time) to give the support that an individual may need. The project supported employers who want to learn techniques and best practice on how to promote In-work Support in their organisations as an essential component of their drive to improving staff retention, workforce development and ultimately business growth.

For further information, please contact Kerry Greenhalgh, Senior Development Officer on 01225 756165 or kerry.greenhalgh@wiltshire.gov.uk