WorkFit have recently been working with Carillion and Morgan Sindall to offer a 15 week paid work placement to WorkFit candidate Sophie at their joint A1L2B project.
Becca, Project Skills Co-ordinator for A1L2B, first contacted WorkFit in March 2017 to find out more about the project and how they could get involved. She told us that the team had previously worked with someone with autism and that it had a positive effect across the site. She explained that this meant they were keen to recruit a person with Down’s syndrome.
Before Sophie could begin her job, staff members were given WorkFit training to find out about the condition and how to support someone with Down’s syndrome in the workplace. Feedback from the training was extremely positive with comments such as: “Fantastic. A lot to be aware of but I can’t wait to get started and meet Sophie” and “Very positive and informative. Separated facts from misconceptions”
Sophie began her placement in the middle of June, working for one afternoon a week as an Administrative Assistant in the Document Management department. She was responsible for scanning and shredding documents, as well as tracking details of projects on the large visual displays and maps used by the teams in advance of board meetings. Her role has seen her working closely with workplace buddies Becca and Ian, A1L2B Document Controller, pictured right with Sophie
Becca was delighted by how well Sophie completed the tasks assigned to her. She said: “It’s been clear that Sophie thrives on hands-on tasks that she can take responsibility for and she has risen to new challenges that we have set for productivity. Everyone is pleased that she’s here on Tuesdays”.
This opportunity has made a significant impact for Sophie as she has demonstrated her ability to learn a range of new skills and adapt to a busy office environment. Sophie has had fantastic support from colleagues who have been enthusiastic and committed to supporting the WorkFit programme. Through the consistent support that the team have provided, Sophie has acquired valuable experience and the confidence to apply for other roles once she has finished her studies.
Feedback from Sophie has been extremely positive and she also appeared in Carillion’s online intranet magazine to let colleagues know how well she was doing.
Sophie say: “I feel proud and more grown up. The article on the Carillion website said Sophie is cool”. Sophie’s family have been delighted to see her obvious enthusiasm for working at A1L2B.
Ian was delighted by Sophie, saying that: “Sophie is a productive member of the workforce and having her here has raised awareness of supporting people with learning disabilities in our workplace. Our colleagues feel that they have benefitted hugely from the experience. Also, it was fantastic to know that Sophie’s contribution was double her cost to the organisation and that having her there was cost effective in real money terms”
Becca concurred, saying that: “Sophie fitted in really well and she kept a record of her work so that she can look back and see what she has achieved. We helped her with a Do’s and Don’ts list which was to guide her with what is appropriate at work. She did incredibly well considering this is the first work that she has done. We’ve had lots of good feedback about Sophie and it’s great to hear that other sites are now developing opportunities with WorkFit following Sophie’s success. Having Sophie here has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for everyone”
All members of the team made Sophie feel welcome and valued and she is now continuing her studies following this valuable experience. WorkFit will be developing other opportunities for Sophie to ensure that she has experience in other sectors to help her to develop her career aspirations for the future. We thank A1L2B for supporting Sophie and hope to continue our relationship with Carillion and Morgan Sindall in the future.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
WorkFit North is possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund
For more information visit the WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk