Sarah gains valuable work experience at Legal Aid

Last year WorkFit worked with the Legal Aid Agency in Jarrow to offer a 12 week work experience placement to our candidate, Sarah.

The LAA showed their commitment to supporting Sarah in her placement by attending free training sessions 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: “We are looking forward to working with Sarah and understanding her abilities”, “understanding that there is so much more than Down’s syndrome to the individual” and “the training covered everything necessary and was well delivered”

Sarah began her placement in August working 10 hours a week over 2 shifts.  Sarah worked closely with Sandra (pictured right with Sarah) the Central Business Support Team Supervisor. Sandra was delighted to have Sarah join the team. Sarah adapted well to the busy office environment where she worked as part of the Central Business Support Team. Sarah was responsible for administrative data entry, allowing caseworkers to concentrate on their case plans.  Her duties saw her register casework at the start of the process before it was passed onto the team for processing.

Sarah was warmly welcomed by her team who gave her lots of support. She quickly became an important member of the team and worked so efficiently that she was responsible for reducing the team’s backlogs from 15 days to 2 days.

Sarah really enjoyed her placement, saying that: I really enjoy processing claims. I have to add information from case files to the database. I really like it when the people here chat to me, I feel like part of the team. I really want a paid job doing something like this. It’s so much better than going to college.”

Once Sarah was established in the team she quickly settled in and was delighted to meet the Chief Executive of the organisation, Sean McNally who met Sarah on a visit from London and was very supportive of the WorkFit initiative and the involvement of his staff.

Sarah had been slightly nervous before starting. She felt much more confident after she meet the team and had a tour of the office as part of an informal interview process, which was supported by WorkFit.

Sarah told us, “When I first started I was nervous and scared, but now I know the people they are very nice and friendly. The placement has been amazing, I have really enjoyed it and I am going to miss the work and the team. I would love to get a paid job at Legal Aid”

Following her placement, Sarah is actively pursuing a career in IT. She has great skills and abilities to offer an employer.

She is also a keen sports woman and recently represented the UK in the Special Olympics in Sheffield and won a bronze medal in her Judo event.

Sarah’s placement at LAA has given her some excellent experience and she is undoubtedly destined for great things. Congratulations Sarah, on this fantastic achievement!

Sandra was delighted by how well Sarah did- Sarah is super and has done really well. She has been a great asset to the Central Business Support Team and I would encourage more offices to offer these placements. Sarah’s output and conduct have been excellent. Senior Managers are now exploring the best way to make more placements available at other offices across the LAA and beyond”.

We thank the Legal Aid Agency for their support of WorkFit and look forward to continuing our relationship in 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

WorkFit North is possible due to the Big Lottery Fund

For more information visit the WorkFit website: