New Partnership with Costa Coffee

WorkFit Wales has been working closely with Costa Coffee during the last few months. Two Costa Coffee branches in Wales have supported WorkFit candidates: Matthew and Ann-Marie.

Matthew is at college five days a week but he was really keen to add some meaningful work experience to his week. During the vocational assessment we discussed at length Matthew’s strengths and his long term work aspirations.

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Matthew is a very sociable young man, loves working in a team environment and has great customer service skills. Matthew felt that work experience in a catering or café setting would be ideal.

I first approached Gareth, manager of one of the branches, to discuss opportunities for WorkFit candidates. Gareth was really enthusiastic about WorkFit and felt that he could offer Matthew a work experience opportunity. I explained the importance of the Down’s Syndrome Association’s free employer training and on-going support.

Some feedback from the training included:

“I personally didn’t know anything about Down’s syndrome so I didn’t know what to expect. I found that learning about it was very interesting and I’m looking forward to working with Matthew and learning more.”

“Personalised presentation to us enabling us to ask questions along the way.” 

Matthew has been working at Costa Coffee since late February and he loves it. He initially started off with some support from his personal assistant but this support wasn’t needed for long. Matthew’s tasks include clearing the tables, re-stocking the condiment unit, filling the dishwasher, and ensuring that the café is always spotlessly clean. Gareth and his team have been fantastic in supporting Matthew and making him feel part of the team. Matthew has thrived in his placement due to the training and support that they have given him.

Gareth, the manager says:

It’s been a pleasure to have Matthew on board, he is such an enthusiastic worker and loves to get involved, he’s great with the customers. We at Costa Coffee want to be seen as a community coffee chain and to help when we can. The training and on-going support from WorkFit has really helped us and allowed us to support Matthew in the right way.”

Matthew says:

“I am really happy to have the chance to work here and improve my skills”,

“I feel like part of the team and I am treated like part of the team”,

“The staff here have helped me to do my job correctly.”

Other Costa Coffee branches in the Cardiff area have also embraced the WorkFit Wales project. I had been working with Ann-Marie for 6 weeks before the opportunity arose.

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Ann-Marie, like Matthew, goes to college. Ann-Marie also felt that she would benefit from adding some work experience to her week. Ann-Marie talked about different jobs that she would like to do in the future and the common theme was that she wanted to help people, work in a team and learn new skills.

Sarah, the manager at the branch, arranged for all of her 16 staff to attend the bespoke WorkFit training.

Some feedback from the session:

“It has helped me a lot in knowing how to give instructions to Ann-Marie and some of the training has helped me understand more about people with Down’s syndrome”

“Positive impact – will take everything on board.”

I arranged for Ann-Marie to meet Sarah and the team. Sarah welcomed Ann-Marie and explained the type of tasks that she would need to learn and put into practice. Both Ann-Marie and Sarah felt that it was a great environment and a wonderful opportunity and couldn’t wait to start!

Ann-Marie has been working at Costa Coffee since early April and she thoroughly enjoys it! Her role involves cleaning the tables, collecting dishes, filling the dishwasher, taking ice out to the restaurant and keeping the place spotlessly clean. Sarah and her team have really enjoyed having Ann-Marie as part of the team. The whole team have been very supportive and given Ann-Marie a wonderful welcome. They have given her time to settle in and develop.

Sarah says: “It has been great for us as a group to work with Ann-Marie and see her develop. It was something new to most of us; the training really helped us to understand the best way to support Ann-Marie. She is part of the team here and we value her contribution very much.”

Ann-Marie saysI really look forward to going to work  because it means that I come to Costa Coffee. The team here are fab and they have really helped me to do my job well.”

Congratulations to both Matthew and Ann-Marie for their hard work and valued contribution. Thanks for the on-going support of Costa Coffee who have really embraced WorkFit and its ethos.

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Big Lottery Wales

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 dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk

For more information visit the WorkFit website http://www.dsworkfit.org.uk/