To­day’s to­ken pass­word is on

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By MAYA BLACK [email protected] @MayaBlack­MEN

A YOUNG woman who has ad­vised Manch­ester coun­cil on how it can help to get more dis­abled peo­ple into work has started her own ca­reer in the high­ways busi­ness.

Ni­cola Jac­ques, who has cere­bral palsy, is work­ing for road and foot­way treat­ment firm Kiely Brothers at their of­fice on Crab­tree Lane, Clayton, af­ter the com­ple­tion of a series of work place­ments with the coun­cil.

Ni­cola, from New­ton Heath, said: “I’m so ex­cited to be work­ing at Kiely Bros. They are friendly, so I get on with them. I’m ex­cited about the work that I’m do­ing.”

As part of their bid to be­come a con­trac­tor for sur­face treat­ment work in Manch­ester, Kiely Bros were asked by the coun­cil to demon­strate how they could help to de­liver ‘so­cial value’ for the city.

The com­pany put for­ward a plan to show how they could pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple who were out of work, whether able-bod­ied, or dis­abled.

Af­ter an in­ter­view to dis­cuss a po­ten­tial ad­min­is­tra­tive role, the firm were keen to em­ploy Ni­cola and to make ad­just­ments to help her to suc­ceed at work, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing flex­i­ble work­ing hours and a salary in ex­cess of the Manch­ester Liv­ing Wage.

Ni­cola said: “Dis­abled peo­ple can do jobs. We can do the work, we just need the op­por­tu­nity.”

While un­der­tak­ing her work place­ments at Manch­ester coun­cil, Ni­cola was asked to ad­vise on how the town hall could bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate job op­por­tu­ni­ties and the work and skills sup­port which are avail­able to dis­abled peo­ple in the city, to en­cour­age more dis­abled peo­ple to ap­ply for ap­pren­tice­ships and other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Ni­cola pre­sented her rec­om­men­da­tions to the coun­cil, which has since im­ple­mented some of her ideas, in­clud­ing or­gan­is­ing a dis­abled peo­ple’s jobs fair.

Ni­cola added: “It did help with my con­fi­dence and my com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills by talk­ing with my team and get­ting to know them and hav­ing a laugh.”

One of Ni­cola’s work place­ments was com­pleted as part of the ‘My Fu­ture’ ini­tia­tive, de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with The Manch­ester Col­lege and the coun­cil to of­fer young Manch­ester res­i­dents, aged 16 to 24, not in ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing or em­ploy­ment the op­por­tu­nity to carry out a paid work place­ment.

Manch­ester coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber for hu­man re­sources, Coun Carl Oller­head, said: “Ni­cola’s skills, en­thu­si­asm and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences made her the per­fect per­son to re­view our sys­tems and see where the coun­cil could im­prove its of­fer to fu­ture dis­abled em­ploy­ees.”

Ni­cola Jac­ques

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