Following on from the Victoria Derbyshire show ‘It’s hard to find a job when you have Down’s syndrome’ feature, shown in May 2015, WorkFit received a number of calls from interested employers.
One of which was Alix-Partners, a leading global business advisory firm with an office based in central London.
The WorkFit team met with Alix-Partners to discuss the various options they could offer someone with Down’s syndrome work and also identified their support and training needs. Following an initial meeting, the WorkFit team provided the company with a site assessment and Down’s syndrome awareness training. This included information about the condition and the learning profile, how they could make adjustments to tasks in order for their new colleague with Down’s syndrome to do the job and supporting them in achieving potential.
Feedback from the training was very positive with comments like “People with Down’s syndrome work hard and merely need the right support to thrive in a job” and “The training has had a big impact! I have never interacted with someone with Down’s syndrome and I think it’s important to know how to incorporate them into day to day life”.
Following a successful training session, a potential candidate was identified in Alfie, through links developed with Highshore in London. The school is committed to providing meaningful work experience placements for their students and is invested in providing the right support to facilitate this.
Alfie started with Alix-Partners in November 2015 working two half days a week. He is supported by Highshore School to get to and from work. At work he has a peer mentor to support him through completing his tasks. Alfie works as part of the facilities team and delivers a variety of structured tasks.
Alfie’s manager Andy says that Alfie “has grown so much into his role and has become confident. He now completes his tasks on his own and has integrated very well within the team”.
Cat Rolley the work experience coordinator at Highshore school comments on how Alfie has increased in confidence dramatically since working at Alix-Partners.
“This placement has had a huge impact on Alfie’s life both here at school and at home. Alfie’s increased confidence means he is more adaptable, more willing to try new things, he appears happier and is comfortable meeting and communicating with new people. He has become far more independent and our speech therapist says his communication has come on in leaps and bounds since starting his placement at Alix-Partners. It has been a fantastic collaboration between The DSA, Alix-Partners and ourselves. This opportunity has enabled Alfie to continue to make positive contributions in an external work environment not only whilst at school but once he leaves Highshore School in July and continues with his next steps.”
On Friday 11 March, Alix-Partners and Alfie were invited to talk about their experience on the Victoria Derbyshire show. Watch the episode by clicking here.
Victoria asked Alfie about his work and what tasks he did. He stated that it made him happy to be working. Peter Saville and Andy Constable from Alix-Partners highlighted the benefits of having Alfie on the team and the support they received from WorkFit.
This has been a great collaboration of three organisations fostering a supportive environment for a young student with Down’s syndrome to have the opportunity to experience the world of work and make an informed decision about his career path. We look forward to developing more opportunities with Alix-Partners and supporting Down’s syndrome students from Highshore into work.
To find out more about WorkFit and how we support people with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives, please contact the 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/