A NEW employment service for people with learning disabilities has been launched in Torquay.
The service from social enterprise Pluss will benefit people in Torbay who have learning difficulties or are on the autistic spectrum.
Staff will help customers search for their ideal job by getting to know them and finding out about their skills, family networks and what extra activities they like to do.
There will be options for customers to participate in work experience and customers may go out in the community to see a job in action to help them decide which career they would enjoy most.
Bay MP Adrian Sanders attended the launch of the service, which is jointly funded by Pluss and Torbay Council.
Mr Sanders said: "We all know how challenging things are at the moment economically, yet Torbay is bucking a number of trends, witnessing the country's fastest falls in unemployment, the highest rises in apprenticeships, and lowest ratio between job seekers and vacancies in years.
"However, the situation for people with disabilities is always harder, whatever direction the local economy is heading, and this is where Pluss comes in."
Mr Sanders also presented the Pluss Achiever of the Year Award to Paul Gooding, a customer who has demonstrated real personal achievement, hard work, dedication and self-development when moving towards, into and while in work.
The Falklands veteran is experiencing mental health issues and complex pain syndrome, but his aspirations were to return to paid employment.
He has been employed as a link worker with Torbay Voice since September. His role is advocacy support with people who access local services within Torbay.
His nominator said: "Paul has progressed so far within himself and his outlook on life in general.
"His confidence and self-esteem has grown considerably and he feels he is gaining a lot of job satisfaction and can give appropriate support and advice, as he himself has received services from various organisations and agencies."
Paul said: "Pluss have been absolutely fantastic and supported me all the way through in all aspects.
"Being in work builds my confidence and gives me a purpose to get up."
People on the autistic spectrum or with a learning disability, who are over 18 and living in Torbay, and who want to work over 16 hours a week, are encouraged to visit Pluss at their new office at 113 Union Street or call 01803 521612.