Inspirational workers overcome barriers to bag jobs and awards

The event, hosted by Oxfordshire County Council, celebrated participants involved in the local authority’s Oxfordshire Employment programme, which aids individuals with long-term health issues or disabilities to find and retain work.

Karen Fuller, the council’s corporate director of adult social care, shared the importance of the programme.

She said: “Our Oxfordshire Way vision looks to support people to live well and independently within their own communities and having a meaningful job can play a big part in this.

“Meaningful employment is something everyone should be able to achieve, but barriers can exist that can lead to people with additional needs feeling excluded from the workplace.”

Ms Fuller highlighted the significant role the Oxfordshire employment programme plays in dismantling these barriers.

She said: “While our Oxfordshire employment programme helps to break down these barriers, it’s the skills and determination of the people looking for work that makes the real difference.

“I congratulate all the people who have been recognised and wish them all the success for the future.”

In the 10th year of the awards, seven adults were applauded for securing and retaining employment, each recognised for their individual triumphs.

Among the award winners were Wolff Skevos-Jones, named County Print Finishers’ Employee of the Year, and Bradley Milsom, who won the Oxfordshire Supported Intern of the Year award.

A special award was presented to Michael Jackman, a 45-year veteran at the council’s commercial print company, County Print Finishers.

Mr Jackman joined the workforce when it was called B&H Industries and has been a key member of the team ever since.

He currently leads the packing operations as well as being involved in the entire production system.

He was awarded his prize by Ruth Shepherd from the Department for Work and Pensions, for a lifetime of ‘commitment, achievement and for being an amazing advocate for the benefits of supported employment’.

Mr Jackman said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time working at County Print Finishers.

“It’s more than just a job to me and I’m really proud to have received this award.”

The programme offers people who need it support getting ready for job interviews, advice on staying in employment, and acts as a go-between to help match people with potential employers.

The council have been running supported employment for almost 80 years.

The programme works closely with the council’s commercial print company, County Print Finishers, which can help provide the first steps into paid employment.


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