Luke’s work experience has certainly paid off!

Luke is 22 years old and lives in South Wales. He started in July 2016, working on a Saturday morning in Dunelm. During his initial work experience he learned essential café skills, made some good friends and enjoyed the whole experience.

Dunelm immediately saw Luke’s potential. Luke has now progressed and has a paid role working four hours, one day a week. Luke says he “loves working at Dunelm!”

In only a short time Luke became a more confident young man and was determined to look at other job opportunities, so that he could further develop his skills. WorkFit had been working with a local Greggs shop and had identified an opportunity for him. WorkFit developed a great relationship with the Greggs team, working with them to identify and develop an opportunity for Luke to cover the busy lunch period for 3 days a week.

Luke 3Luke met the team, including Angela the Greggs Area Manager and had a guided tour of the site. He gained a greater understanding of the potential role and tasks that he would perform.

WorkFit arranged to deliver bespoke employer training to the team. WorkFit training looks closely at the tasks that will be performed and suggests any reasonable adjustments that would need to be considered to enable a person with Down’s syndrome to fulfil the role.

The team felt that they had learned something valuable from the training session. Feedback included:

“I was really worried about having a young person with Down’s syndrome in store, but now feel a lot more at ease as WorkFit has gone through all the ways and tools needed to support someone.”

“Very interesting and now I have a much greater understanding of Down’s syndrome. The way it was explained to me means I can now put into use and it will be a lot easier for our new team member.”

Luke 4Luke started a 6 week trial at the store in October 2016. WorkFit supported both Luke and Greggs during this period by attending on-site reviews. Luke had support from the wonderful team at Dunelm, but mainly he was able to transfer the skills learnt at Dunelm to his new place of work.

After 6 weeks, WorkFit, Greggs and Luke evaluated the work trial. The staff at Greggs were delighted with Luke’s work, his progress and his “can-do” attitude. Luke had also enjoyed the experience and made so many friends.

Luke said, “All the staff have been kind and helped me when I needed it, we have fun too.”

Through hard work and determination, Luke is now a paid Greggs employee, working 3 shifts a week covering the very busy lunchtime period.

Angela said, “It is a very busy store, especially during the lunch period. Luke gets on with his work; he knows what to do and just gets stuck in! He’s is a valued team member, we love having him here and so do our customers.”

The Down’s Syndrome Association’s dedicated Benefit Officers had provided additional support to Luke and his family ensuring that the Supported Permitted work process was seamless.

Luke 5During the last 4 months in his role, Luke has developed into a confident worker and his tasks include replenishing the drink and sandwich refrigerators and condiments section, stacking the crisps and snacks, cleaning the store, washing up, putting the rubbish and recycling out and preparing sandwiches and rolls for customers. Over the Christmas period he was also in charge of packing thousands of mince pies for customers.

Luke is a valued member of the team and takes part in social activities with them, for example, the many fundraising days that the team organises. They all dressed up for Christmas fundraising and for Children in Need raising thousands of pounds for Greggs’ chosen charities.

Angela (Greggs Area Manager) said, “We were honoured to be able to add Luke to our payroll, it is a pleasure to see the smile on his face when he clocks in at the start of his shift. Luke is very proud from the minute he puts his uniform on until he completes his last task of the day-always to perfection. Thank you Luke for being part of our family at Greggs!”

Luke said, “I love working at Greggs, the whole team is wonderful.”

Michele (Greggs team member) said, “We look forward to seeing Luke come in every week; he is so capable with a great sense of humour. I really enjoy working with Luke.”

Luke’s mother Sallie said, “We are so thrilled that WorkFit has provided Luke with the wonderful opportunity to gain Work Experience at both Greggs and Dunelm Mill. This excellent experience enabled Luke to develop far more confidence and he feels much more valued within society.

Luke finished full time college last June and was at a total loss as to what to do with the rest of his life as there seemed to me no support or opportunities available to him.

We are so grateful to WorkFit for all the Work Experience provided and support for Luke and by September he was offered paid work at both Greggs and Dunelm cafes!

This was far beyond our expectations and we are so grateful to WorkFit for this.”

WorkFit will continue to support both Luke and Greggs in the future. WorkFit also looks forward to hopefully helping more people with Down’s syndrome to access work opportunities through Greggs.

We thank Greggs for their great support and in particular and the staff who have been wonderful!

Luke has developed skills and gained so much experience in such a short time-frame. Luke has certainly understood the importance of work experience and paid work.

Well done Luke!

———————————————————————————————————————————–

BLFWorkFit 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. 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 any queries about how work will affect your benefits please contact our Benefits Advisors on 0333 1212 300.

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