I first met Sophie in early September of 2014. I had been in regular communication with her parents and support workers prior to this as Sophie was working on a temporary contract at her local Waitrose store. WorkFit were eager to get involved as we wanted to support Sophie and Waitrose and potentially convert this temporary contract into a permanent paid position.
Sophie is supported by a local supported living provider. Sophie receives support in her day to day life but is still very independent. Sophie loves making her own meals, planning her days and keeping her home tidy.
After meeting Sophie, I contacted Waitrose and they welcomed the support from WorkFit. I visited the store and provided the team with some Down’s syndrome awareness training focusing on the learning profile of a person with Down’s syndrome. The training also looked at ways in which they could better support Sophie at work. I gave them techniques to help Sophie to fulfill her potential. The Waitrose team commented that the training was beneficial:
“I wish I had received this training prior to Sophie starting work.”
Since the team training, Sophie has now secured a permanent 5 hour contract and continues to enjoy her role. Sophie works as a catering assistant in the Waitrose Café where her daily tasks include clearing and cleaning the tables, stacking the dishwasher, making hot and cold drinks, clearing the trays and putting the crockery away. She is a valued member of staff and gets along with her colleagues and enjoys discussing the latest developments in her favourite soaps!
Sophie’s senior support worker says:
“Sophie working at Waitrose has definitely helped with her day to day routine. She is a far more confident and able person.”
Sophie combines her work at Waitrose with a very active social life. She regularly goes to her local community centre with her friends where she participates in many different activities. Sophie also enjoys doing her weekly food shopping and engaging in a little retail therapy.
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 https://www.dsworkfit.org.uk/