On the 4 October parents, candidates, employers and professionals from across the north of England gathered to celebrate the success of our jobseekers and acknowledge the support given by the employers that we partner with.
In the last year Alison Thwaite has been creating positions for people with Down’s syndrome and delivering employer training sessions to employees. She has received positive feedback from parents, candidates and employers alike, with one parent telling us that “…it’s important to see what is available and the help we can get as we start to think about employment opportunities for my son”.
The event welcomed people with Down’s syndrome, families and carers, the local DS Support Group (Down’s Syndrome North East) and also local practitioners involved in supported employment, adult services and education. As one of the professionals said, sharing experiences and success stories “…cements a common goal to promote opportunity for adults with Down’s syndrome”..
Alison opened the event with a speech in which she reflected on the last year at the DSA. She outlined the changes in the WorkFit team and explained that the team of only 5 Employment Development Officers cover the whole of England and Wales. She then showed how WorkFit can overcome barriers by providing training, resources and on-going support to employers. With WorkFit’s support employers can access a range of benefits for their organisation, such as securing dedicated and motivated staff and reducing recruitment costs.
Alison was followed by Nicky talking about his permanent paid job at Holiday Inn Express, Newcastle. He spoke of how happy and proud he is to have job and how much it means to him to be part of the team there. His manager, Les told the audience that Nicky is a great asset to the hotel and works hard. We also heard about how well received he has been by the guests, many of whom have given very positive feedback. He has appeared on Trip Advisor in a review from a happy customer.
We also heard from Dr Pamela Inglis who spoke about her offer of work experience placements at her clinic and the benefits for employers. She has recently surveyed staff and patients and found them to be hugely supportive of her goal to employ people with Down’s syndrome.
Our special guest for the event was Elaine Scougal, mum of internet sensations Ollie and Cameron. Elaine spoke about her presumption of employment for the boys and showed a video of them talking about their future work ambitions.
She is keen that they are able to explore a range of opportunities to find careers that will suit them and provide them with fulfilment and purpose as active members of their community. You can follow their story at . . . Twitter: @OllieandCameron
A highlight of the evening was the activity for people with Down’s syndrome to decorate cupcakes. It was delivered by Chef Chris Wells and was a huge success and enjoyed by everyone. Once again, our sincere thanks to Chris and the team at the Marriott, Metro centre for hosting the event and supporting people who have Down’s syndrome.
Everyone who spoke at the conference was an inspiration and we are delighted to see the candidates doing so well. It was clear that employers see their employees with Down’s syndrome as providing real benefit to their workplaces and that WorkFit’s support, both before and during a placement, is crucial in helping this to happen.
We always welcome new employers interested in hiring a person with Down’s syndrome. Click here to register.
WorkFit North is possible due to the Big Lottery Fund
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