Remploy, the UK's leading provider of specialist employment services to people who experience complex barriers to work, found jobs for record numbers of disabled people last year.
Figures released today show that in the 12 months to the end of March, Remploy found 6,600 jobs in mainstream employment for people with disabilities - an increase of 27 per cent on the previous year.
Bob Warner, Remploy chief executive, said: "These excellent figures are all the more remarkable because they were achieved while Remploy was going through a period of substantial change as we implemented our modernisation programme.
"These successes in placing people in mainstream employment indicate that modernisation of the organisation is absolutely the right thing to do and we can now go on to find jobs for many more disabled people than before."
The record figures include 4,600 jobs under the Government's Workstep programme - for those who experience the greatest barriers to finding and keeping a job - a huge increase of 47 per cent on the previous year.
More than 40 per cent of the people who Remploy helped into work last year had a learning disability or mental health problem, and the organisation is increasingly focused on providing specialist services for people who experience complex barriers to work.
"Statistics show that these groups experience the greatest difficulties in finding a job and are twice as likely to be out of work for lengthy periods than non-disabled people. However, we know that they can benefit from the kind of specialist support and development services that Remploy offers," Bob Warner said.
Remploy's rapid growth in the number of job placements is being driven by the success of an expanding network of recruitment branches. These city centre branches provide services for disabled job seekers to develop skills and aptitudes for work, undergo personal development and receive support in looking for a job.
The average branch finds jobs for 250 people each year and by the end of this year Remploy will have opened more than 30 branches with a planned total of 45 by 2010.
Around a fifth of the jobs which Remploy finds are administrative; 15 per cent are in warehousing and logistics; the remainder are in a wide range of sectors including manufacturing and machine operating, sales, retail, catering, hygiene and hospitality.
"These figures show that we are on target to meet our ambitious target that by 2012 we will be finding more than 20,000 jobs in mainstream employment every year for disabled people who experience complex barriers to work," Mr Warner said.