Last month, new statistics revealed that just 5.9% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment. It’s a downward trend year-on year, and confirmation that schemes like our ‘WorkFit’ employment programme are vital.
One of WorkFit’s most successful partnerships is with XPO Logistics, who have just won the ‘Best Employer Practice’ category at the British Association for Supported Employment (BASE) Awards 2019.
The company employs seven people with Down’s syndrome in their supply chain network across the country in permanent, paid roles.
“The team at WorkFit are absolutely delighted that XPO Logistics’ incredible support of people who have Down’s syndrome is being recognised by BASE, who are widely acknowledged as the ‘governing body’ of supported employment in the UK. We are very proud to be working with the UK division of a global giant like XPO Logistics and hope more organisations across the country will consider partnering with WorkFit in the future.”
Aaron is one of the seven people with Down’s syndrome employed by XPO. On the night he accepted the award on behalf of the global company and gave a heartfelt and emotional speech. Following the award, Aaron’s mum Carol thanked WorkFit and said: “Your dedication has changed Aaron’s life and given him purpose and pride in himself. Aaron has respect and dignity in his work environment and is so happy to go to work each day, and be a valued member of the workforce. Of course, to earn money and have his own account makes him really proud! It makes him feel so good being just like his brothers!”
Aaron works at an XPO Logistics site in Manchester and said: “I love my job; I would like to become a Health and Safety trainer at XPO Logistics. All the staff have been very nice and I have learnt how to say good morning in lots of different languages. I like to work hard and keep focused. I feel very proud to work on the bailer.”
XPO Logistics have demonstrated a significant commitment to supporting people with learning disabilities to gain employment, retain their work and develop their careers. Each WorkFit employee has at least two in-work buddies within their team and these colleagues work closely with the candidates to support them to feel fully integrated. There is also a designated trainer, who delivers the training at a pace that suits the learning profile of their new colleagues. The company have also ensured that all employees have a structured work routine, shorter shift lengths and have created picture workbooks to help them learn their roles.
Gavin Williams, Managing Director, Supply Chain – UK & Ireland, XPO Logistics said: “We are proud that XPO Logistics have won the category ‘Best Employer Practice’ of the BASE awards in recognition of our support of WorkFit employees at XPO. It is a testament and recognition of all involved that have picked up and ran with the programme.”
Plans are now in place to secure more employment opportunities at XPO Logistics, which employs over 100,000 employees in 30 countries globally.
The evening was doubly special for WorkFit as one of our very own Employment Officers was highly commended in the ‘Practitioner of the Year’ Award. Fran Austin covers the North West of England and supports jobseekers with Down’s syndrome, their families and employers in the area. She has developed 42 employment opportunities for her candidates (over 60% of which have been permanent paid jobs). She has also delivered 48 WorkFit Employer training sessions to 407 employees. Wow – well done Fran!!!