A team effort: Jack’s permanent paid position at GXO Washington (formerly XPO)

WorkFit have recently had the pleasure of working with GXO Washington in the North East to create a permanent paid position for WorkFit Candidate Jack.

This success story was supported by funding from County Durham Community Foundation as part of their community grants scheme. GXO Washington is a busy logistics site that provides contractual recycling, tray washing services and equipment management for ASDA. They have a team driven workplace culture, based on providing a supportive and inclusive working environment for all employees.

Working together to make a successful match

Paul, the site manager and Fiona, contract HR Manager, approached WorkFit in April this year. They had heard the success stories from other GXO sites and were keen to offer an opportunity at GXO Washington. They developed a structured job description for a WorkFit candidate, including tasks such as general warehouse hygiene duties, wrapping clean stock at tray wash and segregation of products by type onto pallets. Jack was identified as a suitable candidate by his WorkFit Officer and a site visit was arranged. Paul’s comments after the visit were very positive:

“It has been an absolute pleasure to meet today with Jack and his Mum. Jack was a little bit quiet to start with but soon started to come out of his shell. He is such a nice young man and I would be delighted if he wanted to come and work with us.”

Jack’s mother, Paula told us:

“We had a lovely visit and Jack was very impressed. Paul showed us around the building and it gave us a great insight to what goes on. Jack says he wants a job there and I think the job he was told about sounds ideal.”

To ensure that Jack’s position would be a success, staff from the site received WorkFit Employer training. This covers a range of relevant areas, including workplace communication and the best ways to support an employee with Down’s syndrome to help them to learn and be successful. There was also lots of useful information about Jack. Feedback from the session was very positive, with comments such as:

“Very clearly presented information. Lots of love and care went into it”

“A good mix of content which was all really useful.”

Performing in the job

After a successful informal interview and site visit, Jack started his job as a Recycling Operative just a couple of weeks later, working six hours a week with additional hours offered for the future if he wants them. Paul had wonderful feedback for us after Jack’s first day:

“It’s going great, Jack is a breath of fresh air, he has not stopped chatting yet.”

Paul also insisted that he was Jack’s personal mentor in order to ensure he has the access to support and guidance that he needs at all times. Jack has a very physical role at GXO, working in the tray wash area and bailing department, progressing to learn new tasks and doing very well, having already passed his manual handling training. (See picture)

Jack told WorkFit that he had wanted a job for a long time and had only done voluntary work in cafes before. He wanted a proper job where he could do ‘proper’ work with other adults. He wanted to go to work like his brothers and dad and now feels he’s achieved his goal. He’s made a lot of friends and likes to have a joke with them. He says they show him what to do and help him when he’s unsure of what he has to do. He likes that he gets paid every week and asks if the money is in his bank. He always asks for a bath when he gets home because he says he’s worked so hard he needs to relax!

Jack’s family told us:

“We’re so pleased that it’s worked out well for him and cannot recommend WorkFit enough and we thank them for all the hard work done by them to help Jack.”

GXO Washington have been equally delighted with Jack’s progress and how he has settled into the team. Paul, the site manager said:

“Wow Wow Wow – that is how I would describe WorkFit, there is such a commitment to the work they do to help get people into jobs, it is such an inspiration.

Myself and my team consider ourselves to be so lucky to have the chance to work with WorkFit and to be able to offer Jack a position with our team. Jack walked into our operation and within his first day he made an impression on all of the team with his big smile and ‘can do’ attitude. Jack loves to talk to the team but knows how important his job is in the warehouse, from Hygiene to moving customer products around.

I can honestly say even on my busiest of days I always go home with a smile knowing Jack is part of our Team.”

This is also reflected by his family who said:

“We, Jack’s parents, are so happy that Jack has a job and feels like other adults do when going out to work and getting a wage. Our WorkFit Officer, Becki, worked hard to help Jack gain employment.

He was listened to and included throughout the process. We had regular zoom meetings and telephone calls to keep us in the loop with progress. Jack was allowed to voice his wishes and opinions which is not always the case. He is now happy to go to work and looks forward to being paid and able to treat himself.

We would highly recommend WorkFit, they do an absolutely marvellous job in helping young adults get into work and deserve the recognition for their hard work and commitment. Thank you to WorkFit and Becki.”

Jack’s experience working with GXO Washington is a clear success story that we’d like to celebrate! Congratulations to all those involved. 

Jack has excelled in his role at GXO Washington, he is a popular and highly regarded member of the team. He receives outstanding support from his colleagues at GXO Washington, who are passionate and committed. We are very grateful to GXO Washington and elsewhere for their continued dedication to the WorkFit programme. We also appreciate the support from County Durham Community Foundation in developing this life changing opportunity for Jack.

To find out more about WorkFit and how we support people who have 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