EMPLOYMENT figures for Wiltshire show the number of people out of work and claiming job seekers allowance has dropped by 18 per cent since 2010.

4475 people are currently unemployed in the county, a fall of 977 people compared to eight years ago.

Nationally the employment rate of the country is currently 75.5 per cent.

However employment experts say that work still needs to be done to get disabled people and people with bad health who still want to work back into a job in Wiltshire.

Disability Confident is a scheme that has been launched to encourage more companies to employ disabled people and people who have been out of work for a long time. Employers get help in recruiting and keeping disabled staff through the project.

Sally Cook, employer and partnerships manager and Wiltshire support for Schools advisor for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “There is an invisible workforce out there and we want many of our micro employers, who employ five people or less to know about them. Often people with a disability or with health needs will make a very loyal employee.We are experiencing very low unemployment which is great news. We have a buoyant workforce and the figures have dropped since 2010.”

Speaking at the Employability Fair held last month at County Hall in Trowbridge, Michael MacPhee, operations manager for BT Openreach, said: “We are in immediate need of 3,000 engineers across the country. We have jobs that need filling today. It’s true that many of our jobs require a high degree of physical activity – our engineers climb poles and work at height. But there are opportunities for everyone. We had a vacancy for a time-served mechanic, and a guy with one arm applied. He got the job, he is brilliant, and we are so pleased to have him.”

Cllr Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council said: “I know personally how difficult it can be to get that first start into work. My daughter is disabled and works, but at first it can be difficult while you are getting over initial difficulties to do with access and so on. Part of our job is to encourage businesses to look beyond any short-term issues and to give disabled people an equal chance.

“In Wiltshire we are very lucky to have low unemployment, but some people still struggle to get jobs due to disability.”

To find out more visit: Gov.uk/disabilityconfident.