A SOCIAL enterprise providing employment to the country’s injured veterans and people with disabilities has hosted the Department for Work and Pensions as they look to encourage more employers to champion disabled people in the workplace.
Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company welcomed DWP reps, major employers and Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, to its Bishopton factory to showcase how the factory has created a commercial successfully but socially thriving enterprise by being Disability Confident.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ ‘Disability Confident’ scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. It is voluntary and has been developed by employers and representatives from disabled champions.
During her first visit to Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, Mhairi Black MP said: “Any disability of any kind can change someone’s life overnight. Support and confidence are absolutely key in realising the potential of an individual. Nowhere does that better than here.”
Michelle Ferguson, SBMC director, said: “Being Disability Confident is at the heart of everything we do. We do it, not just because it has a positive impact on those people we employ and support, but because it helps create a sustainable business built on a diverse range of skills and support.
“With access to skills a major issue facing many Scottish businesses, encouraging employers to think differently about disability can help them recruit and retain a skilled workforce.
“At SBMC we see every day how having a positive, flexible approach to disability and the needs of veterans can help improve lives and develop strong and effective teams.
“As a leading social enterprise in the Scottish manufacturing space employing injured veterans, we are proud to stand alongside the DWP in their mission to support more disabled people into work.”
Based at Bishopton, near Erskine, SBMC supports injured and out-of-work Scottish veterans and those in the local community with disabilities. It aims to provide employment and support for up to 150 former military personnel by producing commercial signage and bespoke engineering, as well as supplying fulfilment, print and mailing services.
SBMC began production in summer 2018 and its clients include BEAR Scotland, Amey, Balfour Beattie and Network Rail, along with many of the Scottish Local Authorities. As a not-for-profit organisation, all surplus made by SBMC is channelled back into the enterprise to further employment opportunity to veterans.
Karen O’Connor, the Scottish DWP Health & Work and Integration Lead, said: “As a national scheme, Disability Confident is helping to change perceptions and encourage employers to be more proactive in how they recruit, retain and support disabled people.
“We want to make sure that Renfrewshire is a great place to work if you have a disability and that local employers know how to support and get the best from the talents of their employees.
“It’s great to see a company like Scotland’s Braves creating job opportunities which are inclusive of everyone. They are making sure that they are not missing out on the wealth of skills that disabled people will ultimately add to their business and I would like to congratulate them on that”
SMBC was officially opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when she visited in June 2018. The factory receives the continued support of renowned Scottish veterans charity Erskine.