Dennis revelling in his new role with Oxfordshire Employment

Dennis Rose has found that it’s never too late to find your calling as he thrives in a role with Oxfordshire County Council’s County Print Finishers.

Dennis, who is 56 and hails from West Hagbourne, had spent a long period of time out of work before joining the County Print Finishers contract support team back in 2018.

County Print Finishers, is part of Oxfordshire Employment, a council service that helps to support people with long term health issues or a disability to keep paid employment. As well as helping people directly into jobs with a range of employers, the service offers paid work placements with County Print Finishers, which it operates, to help develop work skills and experience to prepare people for external employment.

After struggling to find a job that would allow him to thrive, Dennis, was first referred to Oxfordshire Employment by Job Centre Plus to get help in finding work that would also support his mental health. As a result, he was then able to find a role in data entry and file maintenance with County Print Finishers.

Since joining, he has become a critical member of the County Print Finishers team and has excelled in an environment where he has received additional support for his mental health and wellbeing. His experiences of the workplace, the specialist support on offer and the feeling of wellbeing that work brings are things he sees as central to his improving health.

The printers has remained open all throughout the pandemic, and even helped to deliver PPE to distribution centres around the county, ensuring supplies were maintained for social carers.

Although the arrival of the pandemic back in March meant Dennis had to move to working from home, strong COVID-19 security measures on site and the sheer volume of work meant that he could soon return to the Oxford-based office and back to working with his colleagues again.

Dennis said: “Being at work has been vital to my mental health, having something important to do and being able to see colleagues – social distanced of course – along with the support on offer from County Print Finishers, has enabled me to stay well throughout the pandemic. At the same time, I have been doing something worthwhile by getting PPE to those who really need it. I am so glad I’ve been able to do this, and I would really encourage anybody else who might be in the same boat I was to do the same – do it, it’s never too late!”

Will Gardner, Oxfordshire Employment Team Manager, said: “Dennis has been an absolute delight to have on the team. His work has been key to the County Print Finishers contract management and I’m glad we have been able to find him something that has allowed him to thrive in the workplace. It is never too late to achieve your goals!”

Councillor Lawrie Stratford, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Public Health, added: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Dennis, who has become a key member of our County Print Finishers service. We’re really proud of our employment service and the success it has with supporting people into work. Having a job can often provide people with so much more than just an income; it provides many of us with a sense of identity and purpose.

The county council's vision is to create opportunities to ensure all people, our communities as well as the local economy, flourish. This initiative and its results show positive outcomes in all areas.

“It is a privilege to hear Dennis’ story and I would echo his encouragement to others to make contact with our service if they’re interested in being supported into work.”

For more information on Oxfordshire Employment visit the council’s website.