Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has urged local businesses to recognise the benefits of employing people with disabilities.
Following a visit to Haven Products in Clydebank, whose workforce is comprised primarily of people with disabilities, the SNP MP praised the packaging firm for creating sustainable employment for disabled and disadvantaged people.
Mr Docherty-Hughes was given a tour of the premises on Clyde Street and met with the Haven workforce to discuss the advantages of a disability-friendly workplace.
Social firm Haven Products, which moved its packaging operations facility to Clydebank in October 2014, works closely with the Scottish Government and local authorities to provide opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people to enter the workplace.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit Haven’s premises in Clydebank and meet with the many skilled and dedicated people employed there. When the UK Government took the decision to close local Remploy factories back in 2012 it had a devastating impact, which is why the Scottish Government committed to working with firms such as Haven to offer training and work opportunities for disabled people.
“More than half of West Dunbartonshire residents living with a disability are unemployed, showing that too many disabled people continue to be disadvantaged when seeking employment. I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to reducing the employment gap and would urge local employers to access advice available through the Employability in Scotland website on employment support opportunities.
“People living with disabilities have a lot of benefits to offer employers and it’s great to see Haven continuing to go from strength to strength following the opening of its packaging facility in Clydebank.
Alain Sharkey, General Manager of Haven Clydebank, said:
“Here at Haven we are dedicated to providing employment and training to people with disabilities, but equally as important offering a safe and stable environment that we hope helps to assist in their personal development. We currently employ 70 people here in Clydebank with 90% of them having a learning or physical disability and hope to grow this figure in the near future as our business progresses.
“The commitment, attitude and the desire to learn we receive from our guys is the main reason we are an award winning business, having received Supplier Gold Awards from one of our customers for the last nine years.”