The Usual Place Will Create a Groundbreaking New Job Role Thanks To National Lottery Funding

The Usual Place in Dumfries has been awarded funding from The National Lottery Young Start Fund to create a new full-time role of Employer-ability Mentor to support employers across Dumfries & Galloway in welcoming disabled young people into their teams, bringing hope and a future to young people with learning disabilities and additional support needs.

The Employer-Ability Mentor role will formalize much of the crucial work that The Usual Place has been doing for many years and bring expertise and resources to link forward-thinking employers and ambitious young people with additional support needs.

The Employer-Ability Mentor will also lead and focus on identifying relevant job opportunities for young people and support both employers and candidates in ensuring sustainable outcomes. This may include providing training and support for employers and identifying ways to make reasonable adjustments and sources of assistance to better welcome disabled people into their teams, as well as following up with practical and emotional in-work support to ensure long-term success.

The purpose is to increase the number of disabled young people moving on from the core project at The Usual Place where they receive training and externally verified qualifications in hospitality services, as well as life skills. The aim is to prepare young people for work and actively guide them into successful employment, addressing the high percentage of young people with additional support needs leaving positions prematurely across Dumfries & Galloway.

The new role will also enable a stronger focus on preparing young people to transition out of the training cafe at The Usual Place through individualized support with job seeking, interview skills, job brokerage and improving communication and knowledge of what matters most to both employers and employees.

The National Lottery Young Start Fund has pledged £95,953 over 3 years to fund the Employer-Ability Mentor and their work. It is expected that this will directly benefit 45 young people over the three year period.

Announcing today’s funding, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to continue funding such a broad range of vital projects for young people all over Scotland.
 “We are always keen to support projects that put Scotland’s young people at the heart of the development and running of services. If your group has an idea how you would make this happen, then we’d love to hear from you.”
Heather Hall Chief Executive of The Usual Place, said: We are really excited to be able to now recruit for this vital role which complements and provides focus for work we are already doing. We are continuously coming across employers who are interested in creating really strong, diverse workforce and providing sustainable opportunities for young people, but they often don’t feel confident or fully informed on how to go about making this a reality. And there are so many young people who have the skills, drive, determination and desire to work but just need the right support in transitioning into their first job.
“For many years we have been successfully working with employers across Dumfries & Galloway who now have some fantastic young people making great contributions to their teams, but having a dedicated role, expertise and resources within the mix here at The Usual Place will give a massive boost to this work and will enable us to reach out and connect so many more employers and young employees.
“In addition to all the core training, volunteer placements we offer within the Community Cafe at the Usual Place, we are also a Disability Confident Leader which enables us to bring expertise and networking opportunities to businesses and organisations across the region. We also provide Training Days in Autism Awareness to businesses and these are delivered by Trainers with lived experience and our Good Connections for Autistic Adults project brings information and access to services for autistic adults and the people who care about them right across the whole region. We now hope that this new role will also be able to bridge a significant gap by focusing attention on actively connecting employers with great candidates who come with individual, relevant, expert support to enable good outcomes for all parties.”

The new, full-time Employer-Ability Mentor job role will be advertised soon through open recruitment and on The Usual Place website and social media channels.


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