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Blue Badge Company Team A few of the Blue Badge Company team with Gary from Pluss

I passionately believe in offering an Inclusive Employment Programme (IEP) and here at the Blue Badge Company, over half our workforce is either registered disabled or a full time carer. Our clear values underpin everything we do at Blue Badge Company and they form a fundamental part of our business model. We are also passionate about quality and British provenance and all our products are made in the UK. We work closely with British suppliers to get the best quality fabrics and component parts. All of our parking permit holders are handmade in our workroom in Bristol.

I truly believe that a company is only as strong as the team behind it. The one thing that has driven me the most is the idea that business has a responsibility to be good for society and I have discovered that a rewarding, sustainable job can change someone’s life. I have seen it first-hand and it is the part of my company of which I’m proudest. Through promoting the benefits and positive outcomes of our Inclusive Employment Programme, we aim to lead business change and encourage other organisations to develop and implement similar programmes.

Blue Badge Company are proud to stand for inclusion and equal opportunities, so we offer specialist employment and training for people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, physical disabilities and long-term health issues. Our flexible outworker scheme is also ideal for primary caregivers and those with domestic responsibilities.

We work with local social enterprises to recruit employees with disabilities, such as Pluss, which requires a commitment of resources from our HR team. Each time we take on a new employee we undertake a 16-week training program. This includes action plans, job coaches and regular reviews to monitor progress and resolve any work related issues. Through initial assessments we ascertain if there is a little extra help the employee may require to enable them to carry out their job duties, and we may need to make reasonable adjustments. In our experience these adjustments often cost very little, as we have discovered that being flexible and accommodating is key to employing anyone with a disability.

When one of our employees starts their new job we support them continually for the duration of the Inclusive Employment Programme. We offer a platform for ongoing development, mentoring and advice. This is done through regular contact and meetings. We can offer job coaching through external resources that provide 'on the job' training, which helps the employee learn work tasks.
Our IEP gives our employees purpose and builds their confidence. This breaks the cycle of unemployment and creates clear goals to work towards, as well as the satisfaction of contributing to a productive team. Our committed staff also gain a wealth of soft skills such as timekeeping, problem solving and team working, which will contribute to their long-term success with the company and in future roles. As we also engage our team in the product development process, we can offer a fantastic level of job satisfaction and personal fulfilment. Along with gaining valuable skills and experience through our programme, our staff benefit from flexible working arrangements that fit around their personal commitments:

Tom McCarthaigh is just one member of the team at Blue Badge Company who has benefitted from the IEP, he explains: “Like most people who are disabled or have gone through disabling circumstances I have always wanted to contribute and be valuable. A Blue Badge Company IEP placement through the outstanding services of Pluss has enabled me to train and become part of a truly dynamic team. I am satisfied that my contribution does make a difference and I am an essential part of making Blue Badge Company run smoothly. My case worker at Pluss was able to find a job that would fall within my experiences and expertise. After an interview I received a phone call saying they wanted me to start my placement and so it began. At times it was tough but ultimately it worked out really well. I have now been working at Blue Badge Company for over two years”.

We have clear guidelines around our Corporate Social Responsibility and aim to continue our positive impact on the economy, the environment and society. We have a commitment to improving the life chances of local people, their families and their local communities.

The success of our programme is ensured by our ability to offer a wide variety of job roles and working environments, thus enabling our employees to gain skills and experience, accredited qualifications and a recent work history for their CVs. Although the impact on peoples’ lives is far greater than just job experience. One of our home workers was about to lose her house following a divorce, because without a job she could no longer get a mortgage. As full time carer for her severely disabled son she was unable to obtain employment. “Blue Badge Company is a life line. I can now work from home and fit work around caring for my son and family life.”

We are proud to promote our IEP on our website and across all of our social media platforms, as well as through regular speaking engagements at conferences, trade shows and networking events. We hope that by sharing the story of our success in implementing our company values in everything we do, we will encourage other businesses to make a commitment to inclusion and equal opportunities.

We are excited to announce that we have just been shortlisted for a Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Award in the "Extending the Reach" category and look forward to meeting lots of other inclusive employers at the ceremony in London on the 3rd November. Wish us luck and we'll keep you posted on how we do on the big night!