Dunelm win the ‘Employer of People with a Disability’ Award at the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards

A huge congratulations to our partner employer Dunelm who have been awarded the ‘Employer of People with a Disability’ Award at the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards in July 2022. 

Partnering with the WorkFit Programme

Dunelm first partnered with WorkFit in 2016, hiring Luke to work as a Sales Assistant in the Pausa Coffee Shop at their Bridgend store in Wales. After completion of a successful work experience placement, Luke was offered a permanent paid position.

The original Dunelm site shared the positive impacts of employing people with learning disabilities, working with the WorkFit Officer in Wales to promote and encourage other sites to reap the benefits of a neurodiverse team for staff, customers, and the wider business. This resulted in the expansion of the partnership across several branches in the South West of England and Wales.

Dunelm have embraced a supported employment recruitment process by using innovative approaches for both informal interviews and induction. They have also given consideration to career progression and upskilling members of staff. This has allowed candidates to demonstrate their aptitude and talent and fulfil their potential at work.

A truly inclusive employer

Dunelm now have 20 WorkFit candidates who have Down’s syndrome employed across multiple UK sites and have provided excellent support to ensure their success. The staff teams have trained WorkFit candidates in a variety of roles across the business, including Customer Service Assistants, Hosts, Coffee Shop Assistants, and Delivery Team Assistants. Dunelm take pride in employing people with learning disabilities and creating a workforce that is inclusive and representative of wider society.

The National Learning Disability Awards stated that “Dunelm have an amazing approach when it comes to employing people with a disability, they not only think outside of the box but also break the rules of their own organisation to provide inclusive opportunities for everyone.”

Tom Spittles-Jackson, People Lead at Dunelm, told us “We are proud to be giving fantastic individuals great opportunities to work in our great business, just as we have always done, and we are totally humbled to be recognised for this. We are immensely grateful to our friends at The Downs Syndrome Association’s WorkFit programme, not just for their nomination, but for introducing us to such fantastic individuals to join our teams.”

We are proud to continue to work with Dunelm, holding regular catch ups with their resourcing management team to monitor the progress of our candidates currently employed, and to continue to support them in offering new opportunities.

The team at Dunelm thoroughly deserve this recognition of their hard work and commitment to supporting people who have learning disabilities into meaningful work. 

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