Jane and Amy have both completed work experience at The Christie Hospital

The ChristieWorkFit North West has recently been working with The Christie in Manchester to offer two, 12 week work experience placements to two WorkFit jobseekers.

The Christie is a globally renowned centre for cancer care, research and education. It has pioneered cancer research breakthroughs for over 100 years and is committed to helping all those affected by cancer, both now and in the future. In a global survey, The Christie was ranked as one of the top 10 most technologically advanced cancer centres in the world.

Jane on her work placement at The ChristieThe Christie offered two placements, one in Administration, and another in the busy Catering Team, serving patients on the wards.

Jane began her 12-week placement as an Admin Assistant in HR in May 2016, working two shifts each week. As a member of the HR team, Jane was involved in supporting induction and staff training events, as well as preparing certificates of achievement for staff and long service awards. Jane was a key member of the organisational team at the events and presentations.

She quickly adapted to a new working environment and was happy to share her thoughts about the role: “I like my job here. It makes me feel important. I enjoy everything. I bring my own lunch and at lunchtime we talk about TV. My job makes me feel independent.”

Jane and her colleague Sarah, at an event at The ChristieJane’s HR colleague, Sarah Dunn (pictured with Jane) is impressed by the way that Jane coped with her new tasks and how she was proactive in approaching the team with ways to help her in her job.

“Jane has been a great addition to the team. Everyone likes her and we miss her on the days she’s not in. She picks things up very well and I don’t know how we managed without her. She should be very proud of what she’s achieving.”

HR Manager, Carol Reah, described Jane’s involvement in high profile HR events: “At our long service awards ceremony, Jane greeted our recipients and their guests. We had around 70 staff attending. It was a very busy and noisy event and Jane did an outstanding job greeting our guests. At another event, Jane helped to facilitate the Trust corporate induction for new starters. Her role was to meet and greet the new starters and to ask them to sign the register. Again we had approximately 70 staff in attendance and Jane made everyone feel very welcome.”

Jane and her colleagues in the HR team at The Christie

Amy, began her 12-week placement as a Catering Assistant in March 2016, also working two shifts each week.

Amy at work as a catering assistant at The ChristieAs a member of the Catering team, Amy was responsible for taking a food trolley to a ward in the hospital to serve patients their lunch. She had to stock and to manage the food and the equipment on her trolley and then serve a variety of hot and cold meals to hospital patients. Amy had to understand the menu and learn how the side dishes were served. She also had to maintain excellent hygiene standard at all stages, even though her gloves sometimes caused some challenges: “I have to wear my uniform and a special hat to make sure that everything is clean and safe.”

She really enjoyed serving the patients and was thrilled to be allowed to serve unsupervised: “I do everything myself. The patients are hungry and I have to be there on time to feed them.” Amy has been given a valuable overview of large-scale catering and is keen to pursue this type of work as a career in the future.

AmyBefore Amy began her placement, staff in the Catering Department were given WorkFit training to give them an understanding of Down’s syndrome. Feedback from the session was very positive: “I’m inspired to want to do more” and “it’s fabulous to be able to help people to get into work, regardless of their disability.”

Amy has really enjoyed her time at the hospital and she feels she has gained new skills. Catering Supervisor, Graham Lamb complimented Amy on how well she worked with the patients on the ward and how proud she was to be able to serve patients herself, to be in charge of her trolley and to have her own responsibilities.

Both the Catering and HR teams at The Christie have valued the opportunity that the work placements gave them. By working with Amy and Jane, and with the support of the WorkFit North Employment Development Officer, they’ve had the opportunity to learn about supporting colleagues with a learning disability. They have had some very positive feedback from both colleagues and patients about the initiative, which has undoubtedly enhanced their corporate image. The insights gained during Amy and Jane’s placements will no doubt encourage them to provide more opportunities to candidates with Down’s syndrome and will help them deliver their inclusion and diversity agenda.

Amy and Jane have had fantastic support from colleagues at The Christie, who have been enthusiastic and committed in their support of the WorkFit programme. The placements have provided valuable work experience and discussions are on-going around further or longer term opportunities within the organisation.
Our thanks go to all the staff at The Christie for their help and support.


NHS Employers has partnered with NHS England to provide a range of tools that encourage and support health organisations to increase their recruitment of people with learning disabilities. The aim of the tools and guidance is to raise awareness, highlight good practice, break down the barriers that both employers and potential employees may face, and create a culture that welcomes people with learning disabilities. Find out more here.

In working together with The Christie, we have been able to support WorkFit’s goals and objectives in securing meaningful work opportunities as part of our objective of helping people with Down’s syndrome to live full and rewarding lives. There are a number of opportunities with a range of organisations in different industry sectors, which are currently in development. WorkFit is open to everyone to become involved and all support is provided.


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 1212 300 or email us on dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk

If you would like to find a job with WorkFit, click here to register now!

If you are an employer and would like to find out more about WorkFit click here.