Job scheme to continue after helping 1,000 people with poor health get back into work

Andy Street hails the success of the Thrive into Work programme

A ground-breaking employment scheme that has helped more than 1,000 people living across the region with long-term health conditions get back into work is to continue for another two years.

The West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) successful Thrive into Work programme has been given £8 million of Government funding.

Thrive into Work employment specialists are based in GP surgeries and other health and community facilities across the region and work with people to identify suitable jobs and then support them with applications and interviews. The specialists also help to empower people to talk to employers about their needs at work and provide continued support once they have started in a job.

Many of those who have found work would have remained unemployed or on sick leave without the one-to-one support. Around 4,000 people have started the programme since it was rolled out across the West Midlands in 2020 as part of a renewed commitment by the WMCA to address health inequalities and help create a fairer, greener, and healthier region following the publication of the Health of the Region: Addressing health and wellbeing inequalities and the impacts of COVID-19 in the West Midlands report.

The programme has also helped relieve pressure on GPs and other primary health care services with around 80 per cent of those who are now in sustained employment saying it has improved their own ability to manage their health condition. More than half said they needed fewer GP appointments as a result. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said:

“Getting 1,000 people back into work is an outstanding achievement and a testament to the tremendous positive impact that the WMCA’s Thrive into Work programme is having on the lives of so many local people.

“These success stories clearly demonstrate how we can significantly improve employment prospects for residents right across our region simply by better understanding and then addressing their specific barriers to work.

“Together, through innovative collaboration as displayed by Thrive, we can transform quality of life here in the West Midlands in the months and years ahead.”

Thrive into Work is delivered across the West Midlands by Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Shaw Trust, and is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.


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