“I feel so proud, my first payslip and my contract of employment.”
David is 22 years old and lives in South Wales. When WorkFit met with David and his family we talked about his past work experience, his strengths and skills, areas where he might need further support and his strong commitment to getting paid work. This discussion helped us to find suitable opportunities for him in his local area.
David enjoys a busy social life; he attends a local training centre for a few days a week, he volunteers in a local community centre café, he enjoys performing for a local drama group and he is also a keen footballer.
David had also been volunteering at a local comprehensive school. He enjoyed his role at the school and WorkFit felt that they could work with the school to develop a paid role for David.
WorkFit contacted Eugene, the Headmaster at the school. Eugene was happy to discuss David’s involvement in the school and was keen to understand more about WorkFit and how the school might offer more support to David. He expressed some of the difficulties the school had experienced when putting together a more structured role for David.
WorkFit recognised the difficulties the school was facing and arranged bespoke employer training at the school. The training session was attended by many of the key staff and the feedback was very positive:
“Very informative training which has helped me understand the need for structure, consistency and step by step instruction.”
“I have learnt a great deal about Down’s syndrome today and this will help me to support David in future.”
“I would recommend this training to any employer.”
Through the training, on-site observations and with help from school staff, WorkFit developed a job description suitable for David, focusing on structure, on defined tasks and on timescales.
Helen Fisher (Business Manager at the school) said, “WorkFit really helped the school to understand David’s very specific learning profile. Simple tips made a big difference. We as a school perhaps didn’t appreciate the importance of structure and repetition for a person with Down’s syndrome.”
It was agreed that while David continued his placement at the school, WorkFit would attend regular reviews to ensure that things were going well. At each visit, WorkFit checked with David and key staff members that the job description was still appropriate and looked at new areas of work for him to make best use of his skills.
Richard, a teacher at the school said, “WorkFit helped us to understand how David learns and the correct approach we should take in introducing new tasks.”
Bridget, a reading support assistant, said, “I have worked with David for a while now and in that time he has proved himself to be a diligent and enthusiastic colleague. He is loved by the students and staff alike.”
After a few months it was clear that David and his colleagues at the school were growing in confidence. All of David’s hard work and determination had paid off and, after a meeting to assess the success of his placement, he was offered paid work at the school and a contract of employment.
St Joseph’s School have been incredibly supportive of David throughout and they have shown genuine commitment to providing the appropriate support to allow David to reach his potential. Eugene and his staff have embraced the opportunity to create a diverse and inclusive environment which benefits all.
Eugene says, “I’m delighted with the progress that David has made. He enjoys his time working with us and carries out his duties effectively. It is clear that David and the school are both benefitting from David’s employment. David is taking important steps to fulfilling his potential and getting stuck in to some meaningful work.”
Catherine (David’s mother) said, “David loves his job at St. Josephs school and is a proud, happy, confident and enthusiastic member of the St. Josephs’ team. With the thankful support of Eugene and all the staff, they have embraced David from the very start of his work experience placement which has been an enjoyable journey and resulted in a contract of employment.
As a family, we are so proud of David and his achievement and our thanks go to Eugene and his committed team, together with Simon James of the Workfit project who continue to support David. As this journey continues he has developed into a confident, mature and valued member of society.”
WorkFit will continue to support both David and the school and looks forward to watching David’s progress. WorkFit would like to say “Well done” to David and congratulates him on his achievement. We would also like to thank Eugene and all his staff at St Joseph’s School for their support. They have really helped to create a wonderful opportunity for David.
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.
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 any queries about how work will affect your benefits please contact our Benefits Advisors on 0333 1212 300.