Two candidates have completed placements at Durham University

WorkFit North East has recently been working with the Catering Department of Durham University to offer two WorkFit candidates each a 12 week work experience placement.

Durham University has ten “catered colleges” providing students with a self-service breakfast, lunch and dinner. These busy areas are at the heart of college life.

Catherine and Gary began their placements as Food Service Assistants in October, both working for 2 shifts in the busy student cafeteria. They served food and drinks, re-stocked food counters, set up food service and dining areas, kept areas clean, tidy and safe at all times, cleaned and stored equipment and completed washing up by hand or using an automatic dishwasher.

Gary was working at St Mary’s College which houses approx. 900 students, many of whom enjoy their meals in the cafeteria. Food & Beverage Service Manager, Mustafa Gun, (pictured) is delighted with Gary’s contribution and says:

“Everyone loves Gary and he gets on well with everyone. He always gives 100% effort and completes one job at a time to make sure he has done it well.”

Gary was very popular with staff and students alike. Not only did he learn lots of new skills, he also made some great friends. Colleagues Margaret (pictured) and Gillian both complimented Gary’s work ethic and were impressed with how quickly he learned the role.

WorkFitDurham_GaryCollage   WorkFitDurham_Gary2


Catherine was working at Hatfield College in Durham. Like St Mary’s this is another large college with a very busy catering facility. Situated between Durham’s World Heritage Site and the banks of the River Wear on one of the oldest streets in Durham (the Bailey), Hatfield is the second oldest college in the university.

Food & Beverage Service Manager, Darryl McNary was very impressed by Catherine’s team integration and how diligent she was about completing tasks:  It’s been a pleasure to have Catherine here with us; she is a lovely young lady.”

Catherine’s duties were mainly around helping students with menu choices, keeping areas clean, tidy and safe at all times, re-stocking food counters, cleaning, and managing equipment.

Catherine has enjoyed all of the aspects of the role:  I feel as though I have come on a lot. I like it when the students say hello to me.  I wash and iron my uniform at home so that I am smart at work and I am always on time because that is very important. I really like working with Pauline and Arizu.” (pictured)

WorkFitDurham_Catherine3A  WorkFitDurham_Catherine4A  WorkFitDurham_Catherine2_A

Both Gary and Catherine have had fantastic support and training from colleagues at Durham University who have been enthusiastic about and committed to the WorkFit programme. This valuable experience of a high-volume and high-profile catering environment has given both candidates excellent experience to help them develop their careers.

Prior to the placements, catering staff in the colleges were given WorkFit training to give them an understanding of the condition including: the  strengths and talents of people with Down’s syndrome; the facts and myths about Down’s syndrome; how to ensure good communication; supporting the learning profile of someone with Down’s syndrome.

Feedback from the training was very positive: “I have learnt about aspects of Down’s syndrome that will benefit us as a workforce” and “All very informative, I feel much more relaxed about being a buddy” and “I will take action to support the process to facilitate long term employment.”

Many congratulations to Gary, Catherine and everyone at Durham University for such a positive placement!


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

For more information visit the WorkFit website: