Emily is one of the team at Cutting Room

WorkFit Yorkshire & Humberside has been working with Cutting Room to secure an employment opportunity for Emily (pictured, right).  

Following a successful informal interview she initially began a short term paid employment contract as a Salon Assistant, working for 3 hours a week in February 2016.  Emily’s duties include welcoming customers, offering refreshments, cleaning salon equipment, re-stocking products and keeping the salon areas tidy.

Before Emily started work, staff at Cutting Room were given Down’s syndrome awareness training. This included how they could make adjustments to tasks in order to give Emily the information that she would need to do the job in a way that would suit her learning profile.

Feedback from the training was very positive: “Excellent presentation – completely changed my views and taught me so much.” “It made me realise that people with Down’s syndrome want the same things as everyone else”

Everyone at Cutting Room were very welcoming and made Emily feel valued and part of the team from her first day.

Emily had travel training before starting her job, and while she has always had confidence in herself and her abilities, she now feels even more self-reliant, saying that: “I feel more confident, I feel happy and proud of myself”. Emily loves to have her hair done (at Cutting Room of course) and also enjoys a busy social life with friends and family.

She was quick to demonstrate that she could work as part of the team and that she understood the need for great customer

Salon owner Leigh with Emily

service. She prepared her own speech for meeting and greeting customers to make them feel welcome. Emily’s job at the salon is now permanent and paid and the salon is very happy with how she is doing.

Colleagues at Cutting Room are hugely supportive of Emily and are delighted to be working with her and seeing her make a valuable contribution.

Salon Owner, Leigh says Clients who see Emily are very positive, staff are very happy, local shop owners know her – the world has grown for us and for her. She has become a more independent young woman and is rightly very proud of her job. A family in the local area now come here as customers because of Emily as they have a daughter who has Down’s syndrome.  

Initially Emily had some difficulties with time management and needed some support with when to take her break and how long to have. She learnt over time to wear a watch and follow the time herself so she now informs us of the time and when her break has arrived. Emily works smarter and at a quicker pace, using her time management skills.

Emily has become a team member in her own right laughing and joking with all the team and regular customers. She will sing along to the music in the salon and share her knowledge of the song or singers name. She has brought fun and laughter to the salon and has a positive motivational approach to her work”. 

Emily is also a great advocate for the WorkFit programme and has accompanied the WorkFit Employment Development Officer as a guest speaker at a number of events. Her story is an inspiration and she is keen to support other people with Down’s syndrome and share her experiences.

Emily and her parents kindly agreed to speak at the WorkFit Yorkshire & Humber Conference in January, 2017, where Emily told everyone about her job and why she loves it so much.

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 dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk.

For more information visit the WorkFit website www.dsworkfit.org.uk