There was great excitement at the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE) Awards 2018 ceremony as WorkFit Candidates Luke and Jeremy had the honour to accompany Kier Pritchard, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police in collecting the Award and Certificate for “Best Employer Practice” on behalf of Wiltshire Police.
In his acceptance speech the Chief Constable told us “It is a privilege to have Luke and Jeremy as part of our team. We are keen to focus on ability and found the philosophy of WorkFit programme complimented our approach and also provided the tools and training to help us offer the best possible support to these exceptional young men.”
He went on to add “we are so proud of these guys, they enrich our Force and help us to promote our culture of valuing people and reflecting the community that we serve. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of what we do and these guys add real value to our organisation”
WorkFit has been working with Wiltshire Police for the last two and half years, initially with Paul Harrison, WorkFit Employment Development Officer for the South West and then with Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group’s WorkFit Liaison Officer, Jonathan Grew. More than twenty staff and officers have gone through WorkFit training in four different sites across Wiltshire and Swindon.
Luke is an employee working in the Communications Centre in Devizes. He recently achieved his City and Guilds qualification in “Employability Skills including Maths and English” and is now starting his NVQ in Business Administration. Jeremy works in the Driver Support Unit at Police Headquarters in Devizes and shortly will move to paid work. In addition he will be supported to get City & Guilds and NVQ qualifications as part of his professional development.
In Salisbury, Edward has been volunteering in Bourne Hill Police Station where he was on the Front Desk at the commencement of his work placement. Unfortunately the Station was contaminated during a recent nerve agent attack and Edward lost his placement, however new opportunities arose for him on the Salisbury Cordon as he supported the team who ran the mobile canteen for the visiting Police Officers from over forty forces that sent Police to protect the cordon. One shift that Edward did ended at one o’clock in the morning.
At Gable Cross in Swindon, WorkFit candidate Vivian helps with the front office and the management of Police lost property and prior to her taking up this opportunity WorkFit candidate Lane completed a placement in a similar role
The support from the Chief Constable Kier Pritchard downwards throughout the force has consistently included the following powerful message; Inclusion matters and we should always focus on ability. In March 2018, Wiltshire Police became the first Police Force in the country to be recognised as a “top disability employer”
Their support of WorkFit has not only come through employment and volunteering, the Force were the second largest seller of socks through the Down’s Syndrome Association’s Lots of Socks campaign in March 2018. Their participation was masterminded by outstanding inclusion advocate, Roy Perrett, Service Improvement & Development Manager at Communications Centre (pictured right with Luke and Jeremy). In addition Roy has personally raised of £1,000 for the DSA.
In June, Wiltshire Volunteers Week was started with Edward and Jeremy being allowed to be the Chief for the day. They were given full uniform and caps to signify their office. During the morning they interviewed the Chief for his weekly blog and made use of his Official Car and it’s “Blues and Twos”. They inspected a parade of newly qualified officers as well as doing a general inspection of Police HQ. Wiltshire Police’s head of volunteering Sarah Holden (pictured below, second from the left) has been hugely supportive and Swindon’s and WorkFit Liaison Officer, Jonathan Grew have regular contact and are constantly working on new opportunities to get people with Down’s syndrome into the work environment.
WorkFit are very grateful for the way that the Force have fully embraced the WorkFit programme and for the incredible support given to our candidates. Wiltshire Police are fully deserving of this award and provide a wonderful example of what can be achieved when employers see only ability.
WorkFit supports people with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives. For more information about WorkFit please contact the team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit the WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk