Friday, 19 October 2012

Northern Feathers supporting employment opportunities

Kerry Claxton, Dean Cartwright & Pam Lythgoe
I visited Northern Feathers in Ashton in Makerfield to see for myself the partnership between the company and Wigan Council’s Supported Employment Service.

Northern Feathers manufacture duvets and pillows for the Snuggledown brand. Acquired by the John Cotton Group in 2000 considerable capital investment has enabled further innovation and development of bedding products.

Wigan Supported Employment Service is a professional employment and training provider, securing paid employment opportunities for people who have a disability. The aim of the service is to create a truly diverse workforce which reflects the local community and offers equality of opportunity to all. They are an Ofsted rated “outstanding" grade 1 service, and their service users include people who have a number of barriers into employment such as having a learning disability, mental health issue, an acquired brain injury or a physical or sensory impairment.

Sharing a joke with Dean Cartwright
Working with Northern Feather the service has placed 5 people in paid employment and I was able to meet with and talk to employees about their experiences and the opportunities that secure employment provides.

Kerry Claxton, Employer Engagement Officer for Wigan Supported Employment Service said, “Northern Feathers have been in partnership with Supported Employment Service for the past six years, they have at the moment five paid employees, whom are all valued members of the workforce. They all have targets to achieve daily to ensure production is met."

“Pam Lythgoe the factory manager has been very supportive of our service and we need more companies within the borough to follow Northern Feathers and employ people with disabilities.”

Firms like Northern Feather make a valuable contribution to jobs and the local economy and I applaud their support for a diverse workforce. It was great to meet and talk to staff and learn that they have support and training opportunities and that their contribution is valued by the company.

Local Businesses interested in more information about supported employment can contact Kerry on 01942 828439

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