Firm honoured for ‘all-abilities’ approach

From left: SWM directors Raymond Penfold and Shawn Akers, are pictured with North Devon MP Nick Harv

From left: SWM directors Raymond Penfold and Shawn Akers, are pictured with North Devon MP Nick Harvey and Marise Mackie. - Credit: Archant

Waste management company recognised as ‘top’ employer.

SOUTH West Metals and Waste Recycling (SWM) has been presented with a Pluss Employer of the Year award for helping disabled people into work.

The Barnstaple-based independent waste management firm has employed four disabled people through social enterprise company Pluss.

It is hoped that a further two trainees will secure permanent employment in the next six months.

The company has also hosted 10 work experience placements and has made a commitment to ongoing work experience at all its sites including in Bideford, Barnstaple and South Molton.


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Shawn Akers, director at SWM, was presented with the award on behalf of the organisation by North Devon MP Nick Harvey on Friday morning.

Mr Akers said: “Offering work experience and paid employment to individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities is challenging but immensely rewarding as well.

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“We have seen many benefits from the relationship; quite apart from being able to recruit from a sizeable talent pool, we have been able to enhance and improve our own mentoring skills, have been able to test our risk assessments and safe systems of work in a real and meaningful way, and have ensured our policies and procedures are open, transparent and fair to all.”

Pluss Barnstaple manager, Marise Mackie, said: “SWM have demonstrated time and time again to be a really positive and inclusive employer of disabled people – their ethos comes from the very top and permeates throughout every department.

“SWM always focuses on skills and ability - never on disability. They are always willing to give people a chance.”

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