I first met Alex in October 2014. Alex lives with his family. He is a very busy young man with lots of hobbies and interests including dance and drama. He also plays a variety of sports (cricket being his favourite).
Although very busy during the week, Alex was keen to include some work experience. During the vocational assessment, we discussed the type of work that Alex would like and the potential support that he would need. We met several times during this initial period, swapping ideas, discussing different job roles and looking at potential employers for me to approach. Alex has strong IT skills and a very organised approach to his work. He is very sociable and loves helping people. We felt that an opportunity where he could use all of these strengths would be ideal.
I approached Specsavers in South Wales and discussed the WorkFit Project with one of the directors. I explained how we operated, the support that we offer and the fantastic opportunities that were available to their business. Specsavers were very keen to get involved and during the next few weeks they identified a branch and had an opportunity to meet Alex for an informal interview which went very well. I delivered the WorkFit employer training to the key staff who would be directly working with Alex.
Some feedback from the training was:
“We’ll give Alex plenty of time to make sure he feels part of our team. We’ll give him all the help and understanding he needs to make sure he learns his tasks. Once completed we’ll show him something else he can learn and enjoy.”
“I found the talk very enlightening and enjoyed it very much. I learned a lot of new information which I will endeavour to take on board.”
Soon after the training session, Alex’s work placement began. Alex currently works one morning a week and he loves it!
His work at Specsavers involves a variety of different tasks. After only six weeks, he has banking and post office duties. He cleans the display glasses on the shop floor, meets and greets the customers, shreds documents, files customer records and updates the computer with customer appointments.
Alex has received fantastic support and training from Specsavers who have given Alex a wonderful welcome. On my last visit to see Alex at work, he was inputting data into the computer unsupervised and all the staff felt that he had achieved a great deal in a short space of time.
Alex’s hard work has paid off: he is due to start permanent paid employment with Specsavers in the next few weeks.
“I love working in Specsavers. Everyone is so kind and helpful to me. I have learnt lots of new things to do. They give me a smart uniform & name badge. I feel smart and an important man.”
The Branch Manager says:
“Alex loves working at Specsavers and we love working with him! He has taken really well to the work we have provided him and we are delighted with his progress. He comes to work with a wonderful smile and leaves with one too.”
Well done Alex and thank you Specsavers!!
WorkFit Wales looks to support young people aged 14-25 years with Down’s syndrome access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives. We need your local knowledge and on-going support to help us achieve this. We are guessing for every young person with Down’s syndrome there is a parent/relative/friend who works, who could potentially ask at their place of work? Do you know of inclusive employers, employers who are currently or who have the potential to support people with Down’s syndrome?
Tell us who the employers are by contacting the WorkFit team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit the WorkFit website http://www.dsworkfit.org.uk/