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Providing opportunities for all with a more diverse workforce

13th October 2021

A new support programme, designed to break down barriers and help more disabled people into work is being launched across the West of England.

100 businesses will receive tailored, targeted disability inclusion training to help them create a more diverse workforce.

The project, which is part of the Workforce for the Future programme, is being delivered by the leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority.

The most recent statistics available in the region are from the 2011 census, which revealed that in Bristol for example 75.4% of disabled people aged 16 and over were economically inactive compared to a quarter (24.9%) of their non-disabled counterparts.

Over the next eighteen months Leonard Cheshire will work with local SMEs to help them increase their knowledge and understanding of disability, providing training, workshops and resources and support them to proactively employ disabled people.

Applications are now open for the Inclusion, Disability, Equality, Action (IDEA) project.

Eligible businesses will be based in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire), and be a Small or Medium sized Enterprise (SME) with between 5 and 250 employees.

Those interested in joining the scheme can find out more information and apply by visiting Workforce for the Future or contacting

Providing opportunities for all with a more diverse workforce – WECA (

IDEA will also collaborate with a cross section of business networks, employment specialists and higher education groups in the region including Workforce for the Future partners; Business West, Western Training Provider Network (WTPN) and University West of England (UWE Bristol) to build capacity and inclusivity of their delivery.

Workforce for the Future is an £8m programme – co-funded by the West of England Combined Authority and the European Social Fund (ESF) – that works with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them develop their future workforce, meeting their current and future needs.

To find out more please visit Workforce for the Future.

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