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Jozimar cheques in

A disabled man from Leeds has started the new year by banking a cheque for £500, after his fellow jobseekers decided he had made the greatest progress in the Mitie Foundation’s innovative work programme, Ready2Work. Unemployed Jozimar Varela from Beeston, Leeds, who has cerebral palsy, has just been presented with the award on completion of his eight-week work experience programme with outsourcing specialists Mitie. Supported by a number of organisations including disability employment specialists Remploy, the programme offers an opportunity to enhance the skills of trainees and increase their confidence through work. At the end of the two-month programme, Mitie either employs the candidates where vacancies exist, or offers continued support in seeking jobs elsewhere.

“Being nominated by other candidates is the icing on the cake, and it comes at the end of a very enjoyable time with Mitie,” said 27-year-old Jozimar. “I have been looking for a job for the past 18 months and have been spending my time volunteering. I was really pleased to be selected for this opportunity. I have learnt so much and now plan to put my experience to good use in 2016.”

Jozimar has just spent several weeks as a receptionist and call handler for one of Mitie’s customers in the finance sector. His Mitie mentor and trainer Robyn Howarth said, “His confidence grew daily and he has been a really valued member of our team. He has immersed himself fully in everything we have asked of him and he has been a real joy to work with.”

Alongside Jozimar, two other candidates from Remploy – Damien Petch and Michael Speck – have also just completed their eight-week Ready2Work programme and, as a result of their experiences, they have high hopes for the future. Damien has been offered a job by Mitie, working for their Gather & Gather catering business, and Michael is being fully supported as he continues to look for a job.

Alexia Tsalkitzoglou is the Mitie Foundation’s employability coordinator. “We have worked with a group of people who have shown real commitment,” she said. “Their confidence and self-belief has increased beyond recognition and this will help them break down the barriers they face. We will stay in close contact so that we can highlight job opportunities within Mitie and play a very active role in ensuring those who want to work in our industry are offered our continued support.”

Dominic Brook from Remploy added, “We have worked alongside Mitie for the past three years and our relationship is going from strength to strength. We were delighted to support their Ready2Work programme and it has been a fantastic success. The result of our association with Mitie will lead to more successful outcomes for people with disabilities and health conditions.”