AW’s support with WorkAid commenced in April 2022. He had a formal diagnosis of Autism, learning disability and mental health, and was referred to WorkAid by his parent.
AW was struggling to find employment and his caring responsibilities had hindered him working in the past. He has supported his family in caring for his sister in the family home. She had suffered extensive brain damage in a car accident and, since then, AW has suffered from PTSD. During this time, however, AW had volunteered at SOLD in Shoreham.
Summary from our initial meeting found: AW was hoping to find security work. He has a door supervisor card and security (including CCTV) certificate, but no work experience in this field. These qualifications run out in October 2022, but updating them will need funding. He describes himself as ‘pro-active’.
AW is on UC and PIP – his PIP is for both mobility and care.
AW’s mum is his appointed person in all financial matters.
AW has a poor sleep routine and frequently does not go to bed till around 1am. He struggles with forms and managing his finances. AW needs clear and concise instructions, and prefers achievable goals. AW is literal in his processing and struggles with understanding social cues or expectations being placed upon him. AW reports that becoming overwhelmed is his biggest barrier.
Actions taken in sessions:
Early sessions concentrated on AW’s CV, updating this with a photo and a personalised profile that best suited him in all future applications. Also, he was signposted to Matrix SCM for help preparing for interviews.
AW was keen to try out his new CV and began applying for security work after setting up an Indeed job search account, with the help of his Employment Consultant. He got an immediate response and was offered an informal interview with a local security firm.
AW requested interview support, and an Employment consultant accompanied him when he met with the employer. A work trial was offered and completed. The employer gave feedback directly to the EC and, although there had been issues with AW’s hygiene and presentation, the employer agreed to offer him paid work on a zero hour contract.
AW began paid employment in May 2022 and remains employed to this day. In September 2022, his EC secured funding via DWP for AW to update his door supervisors security licence. His upskill training will take place in October 2022.
RP was referred to WorkAid in October 2020. He had been struggling with lockdown and needed some employment focus in order to gain financial independence and work-related skills.
RP had no previous history of paid employment but had gained some skills in work at SOLD in Shoreham and had been there for around 4 years. RP was also a keen gamer and had a small social group through gaming online and in person. His final ECHP plan in 2017 and a learner had identified:
He has moderate learning difficulties and ADHD. He struggles with most aspects of literacy and numeracy. He is a quiet and polite student who does not ask for help unless he is overwhelmed. He needs to have certain information in lessons reiterated to help him understand. He can get quite worked up if he does not understand/misunderstands something or the task he is attempting is not going to plan. He can lose focus easily in the classroom, especially if it is a writing task. He attends OCS in a small group for some Social Skills.
RP later attended Brinsbury college, gaining entry level 3 certificates in D&T Product Design and Physical Education (Entry 2). He has also completed a program with the Prince’s Trust and various employability and life skills programmes.
Despite his educational achievements, RP felt that his early, bad experience of education continued to impact upon him. These issues caused him problems during a training programme and he required continual support to complete the written tests.
RP was keen to find employment that involved working outdoors and using his creative interests such as blacksmithing and hard landscaping.
Early support enabled RP to access an online training program in Horticulture – his family were able to help him during lockdown to complete modules within the course.
Following a long and extended period of lockdown, RP was then supported by WorkAid to work with a new partnership provider – a local gardener who was looking to establish a work experience type environment at Radar Farm. One-to-one job coaching enabled RP to begin as a volunteer. He welcomed this and demonstrated his motivation by independently managing his journey between Shoreham and Worthing, to attend the work placement. When the work placement came to a close, RP was keen to find another opportunity.
RP’s employment consultant introduced him to Buddy’s café and he signed to their ESF funded 6 month training program which led to a customer service Level 3 qualification. In March 22, RP completed the training and began a four-week work experience program with Waitrose. He enjoyed this experience and was keen to secure work that used his new skills.
After a long journey building his work skills, RP found paid employment with the Compass Group in ASDA coffee shop in July 2022 . He remains there to this day, receiving occasional background support from WorkAid.
RP feels he has really benefited from WorkAid’s support, and his family have said:
‘’We just want to say thank you again for all the support you have given RP.
He has changed so much in his manner and confidence. He really enjoyed going to Waitrose and told us stories of the people he worked with, saying how nice and friendly everyone was. Thank you again’’
GP lives at home with his mother who has visual impairment and does not work. He has a learning disability and cannot read or write well. He can read a simple shopping list and find TV programme times in a TV magazine.
Neither he nor his mother have a computer or smart phone. They do not have the internet and have no email address.
GP was living in his own flat and working for many years as a gardener and maintenance person for a housing association. He always worked with a more senior partner. His situation changed around the start of Covid and he moved back to his mother’s home and left the job. Since then, he has not worked.
GP’s Employment Consultant supported him to get self-employed part-time work as a gardener. This was for two hours per week but could be less than this because if it was wet or his employers were away, he would lose those hours. The hope was that he would be able to take on more clients. From this experience it became clear, however, that if GP took on more clients, he would need a lot of support with the administration side of the work. GP and his EC realised that it would be much better for him to have a regular job where his employer could manage much of the administration.
GP’s EC helped him look for work, supporting him to apply for possible jobs and then two interviews at which he was unsuccessful.
In view of the barriers to employment for GP and his willingness to work, his EC suggested that he apply for support from a DWP funded programme called Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES). This was all going forward, but then it came to light that his (less than) two hours a week gardening disqualified him from being considered. The EC appealed this decision, to no avail.
A full-time job as a domestic refuse collector came up and GP’s EC helped him to apply. He was accepted and his EC supported GP get to his induction, travelling with him on the bus there and back. (GP was not confident to go alone the first time but is now confident where to get on and off the bus.) Once at the induction, GP’s EC helped him to read and sign the many documents, ensuring that he understood them all. There was also a short test. The EC read out the questions and multiple-choice answers and ticked the responses GP had given.
There are still some hurdles to cross. To register to get paid, an app is used. It has been agreed that GP’s brother will download the app on his behalf and manage that side of things, including entering his bank details so he can be paid. GP is also supposed to ‘clock in ‘ every working day with the app. GP’s EC is attempting to get the employer to make a reasonable adjustment so that GP can ‘clock in ‘ using another system. After the induction on 8th September, GP would have been able to start the next day, but must wait for them to order some large size boots.
GP and his family are very grateful for the support the EC has given. They have informed the EC they do not feel that GP would have been able to secure this work without his help
Meet Lewis, who is currently being supported by Impact Workability. Lewis has an Acquired Brain Injury following a stroke which he had at the age of 15, and he’s just about to turn 22.
Lewis is one of many people who are receiving help from Supported Employment West Sussex to find work. He is determined to work in the healthcare sector, and despite being moved a year back at school to restudy work missed in year ten, he worked hard and achieved good qualifications, which gained him a place at University to study Occupational Therapy. Whilst there he gained lots of experience, however due to the Covid 19 pandemic he had to make the difficult decision leave the course. Since then, Lewis has continued to apply for work with the healthcare sector and has applied to volunteer at a local hospital to further his experience alongside his job searching.
Lewis’ determination is an inspiration to us and he has so much to give to his next team and patients- could Lewis be your next team member?
Here he is sharing more about his story and experiences as part of Impact Initiatives 2021 conference.
For more information about Lewis’ skills, and to find out more about how Supported Employment West Sussex can support your recruitment please contact Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org
This week, one of our supported employment clients, has been offered a dream role within Chichester Festival Theatre- a huge congratulations to R after a lot of patience and never giving up!
“How can I begin to thank you for all you have done for R, through Work Aid, over the past few years?! You have been so amazing and have never given up on him.
Your kindness, perseverance, patience and enthusiasm has been exceptional and has finally paid off with R now being offered his first proper job at the age of 31! The fact that this job has been designed to suit his specific needs is even more wonderful as it will help him to adapt and settle in.
The door into paid work has finally been opened after so many years of trying. This door also opens up a new world of opportunities that will give R a sense of self worth and purpose. He will meet new people, broaden his horizons and use his talents to the full.
THANK YOU so very much.” Parent of R, supported by WorkAid
At RAS, we believe that successful talent management starts with the right recruitment and selection.
We recently received a letter from the Aldingbourne Trust in relation to the recruitment experience of one of our newest colleagues and their appreciation of one of our Recruitment Advisors…
“My name is Debbie Mott, I work for the Aldingbourne Trust, in the WorkAid team, our head office is based at our Country Centre site in Fontwell, near Chichester, West Sussex.
I work with a team of employment consultants who are based throughout various locations in West Sussex. We specifically work with adults who are anywhere on the spectrum of learning disabilities and autism. In my work I offer holistic and personalised support to adults looking to gain fulfilling and sustainable paid employment.
Our client’s come from a variety of employment backgrounds, from those who may be looking for their first paid job right through to those finding the next steps in their careers, but they are all very keen and determined to succeed in all they set out to achieve; they are just looking for the chance to fulfil their career goals and aspirations.
K came to Work Aid in early 2020 after finishing his full-time education in a catering training establishment after which K had been looking for work for several months. K used our support to access a volunteer opportunity within a local charity shop where he was able to build on his existing transferable skills as well as gaining many new skills, including raising his own confidence within a workplace.
Determined to keep looking for appropriate paid work and seeing how COVID-19 was having a large impact of the hospitality industry, he set out to look for new opportunities.
Together we came across a position advertised by Retail & Asset Solutions (RAS) who were for retail stocktakers.
K applied for the job and submitted his CV. He was very open and honest about his lifelong disability, which K has always been keen to do.
K heard back early on in his application to say that he had been successful so far and was offered an online interview with Simone White-Yule. He was nervous, though keen to make a good impression. A couple of days later the online interview took place, and I supported K to make a request around reasonable adjustments, which prompted Simone to call following the interview.
In this call I learned that Simone understood autism and with this was therefore able to appreciate some of the assets that people with autism can bring to a workplace, qualities that many organisations consider valuable, such as high levels of enthusiasm, areas of expertise, reliability with added attention to detail and a sought-after ability to work in a consistent environment. Simone was able to set aside the standard expectations placed upon an application, such as one having an extensive working history. We openly discussed possible concerns, about how K would cope in some situations such as with his understanding of routine and assignment commitments, and together we were able to talk these through and find solutions.
Simone was keen to see if she could advocate on K’s behalf to consider offering him the role. With her tenacity, understanding and the desire to also see K succeed, she was able to be the key link to K securing employment.
K was soon offered a job start! K himself was ecstatic as he had also appreciated how Simone had presented him with the honesty and integrity his application deserved. Simone had not just managed to secure K paid employment, but had renewed K’s faith in the process of application where a disability is disclosed. A true acknowledgement that when reasonable adjustments are put into place at the very start of the application process, how a pool of talent can be accessed without unnecessary assumption, stereotyping, bias, and discrimination.
Many people with a disability will suspect being honest and open about disability can disadvantage them in applying for jobs, and because of this, many often choose not to disclose their disability.
Three in five UK employees have experienced disability bias (hrmagazine.co.uk) and there still appears still to be many myths surrounding disability in that it may cost employers additional monies and that a disability means ill health, especially where the disability is often ‘unseen’.
Throughout K’s application RAS demonstrated that they clearly have diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement strategies at the forefront of their work with practice policies that are set out to remove any unfair discrimination. Simone certainly approached K’s application in a way which has contributed to an open and inclusive workplace culture, especially when making reasonable adjustments in the selection process.
RAS are championing positive action to address a current under-representation among disabled people in the workforce, and in doing so are building a culture where every candidate is valued and it is true that a corporate image and reputation can be enhanced when working in an inclusive way.
Keep up the wonderful work RAS! we certainly look forward to working with you again in the future!
"After years of struggling with anxiety and depression which dictated my life in every way imaginable, I have found I started to progress when I joined the gym in July 2018. The process of changes in my life started to develop. I started seeing my employment consultant in Spring 2019 and we discussed different possibilities of me moving forward with my life and what career I would look at participating in. My employment consultant found a Gym Instructor Course at a local College which led onto a Level 3 Personal Training Course, I felt with my employer consultant's support I was able to give this a try. We both visited the college as I was too nervous to go on my own, we both made it clear that initially I would need some extra support at least. I started my course and flourished very quickly, I passed the course and then started and completed the Level 3 Course. I am now a qualified Personal Trainer starting my own business. If it wasn’t the help and support of my employment consultant at the start, I wouldn’t of made that first course. She was kind, patient but most importantly she believed me and I will be forever great full for the support she gave me.''
''The support the Aldingbourne Trust has given me has helped me find paid employment and in particular to keep up my motivation to continue job searching and to continue to keep learning during the lockdowns where little job advertising was going on. I have been helped by my support worker in having a friendly and understanding ear to count on when ever I had an issue I wasn’t able to resolve myself.''
''I have found the support I’ve been given has really helped me with my confidence having had a major setback after my last job.
I am very happy that I am doing my course at B's and I am also doing a course for Sussex Aspire.
Doing an online course is very different but it actually works really well.
I feel comfortable talking with my employment consultant, and I feel she puts a lot of care into her role.
The current circumstances regarding Covid are difficult, but I am getting by with the support that I can. I look forward to the future after Covid and receiving the vaccination and being able to get back into employment.
I look forward to working more with employment consultant and benefitting from all the support she gives."