“My job is amazing, fun and rewarding!”

WorkFit and the South Manchester Down’s Syndrome Support Group (SMDSSG) have recently been working with  Tesco in Greater Manchester to develop a permanent paid job for Conor (right).

SMDSSG work in partnership with WorkFit in a Local Support Network (LSN) capacity. They have been developing WorkFit in their local area with support from the Employment Development Officer in the North West. John Henry (pictured, below right) is the LSN Lead in South Manchester and Tesco is one of the many exciting and successful opportunities that he has developed for WorkFit candidates.

Following John’s discussions with the former HR Manager, Sara (below), John arranged for the team at Tesco to meet Conor for an informal interview and tour of the store.

Prior to his appointment, Conor’s colleagues were given a free training session on how to support someone with Down’s syndrome in the workplace. Feedback from the training was very positive with comments such as:

“Profound – enjoyed learning about the real facts linked to Down’s syndrome and not the myths. Having Down’s syndrome doesn’t define a person”“The value of having a person with Down’s syndrome outweigh the reservations I had before”“Much more informed, I feel confident about working alongside someone with Down’s syndrome”“Today’s workshop has been amazing and I have learned so much and found it so helpful and rewarding. It has opened my eyes about how someone with Down’s syndrome can live a full life so independently”.

This illustrated that the team had taken on board the key messages of the training and the ways that they could support Conor to make a valuable contribution in the workplace and ensure that it was a positive and rewarding experience for everyone.

After a successful informal interview, Conor began a work experience placement as a Customer Assistant in June 2016. He proceeded to make such a good impression in his placement that Tesco offered him a permanent paid job. Conor’s success is a great example of how candidates placed through WorkFit are gaining long-term, sustainable positions in a variety of private, public and third sector organisations across England and Wales.

Conor carries out a range of duties including re-stocking and tidying fresh food and grocery displays, tidying and disposing of waste and working in various departments including clothing, as required by the store manager. An important part of Conor’s role is to help customers and support colleagues to provide excellent customer service. After the first two weeks, Sara told us “I’m delighted with how things have gone, Conor is a pleasure to work alongside and the team really appreciate the help”

Conor greatly enjoys working at Tesco’s. He told us that: “I really like it here. I’ve learned different skills and it’s made me feel proud. My job is amazing, fun and rewarding”

Conor has been helped in his jobs by his in-work mentor Cherie. She has found the process to be very fulfilling and enjoyable, commenting that: “Conor and I work really well together. He’s a good colleague, hardworking and very positive. He didn’t need as much assistance as I thought he would. Since I’ve been working with Conor it’s brought a lot more out of me and I love being with him”

Conor has received great support from colleagues at Tesco who were keen to embrace the WorkFit programme and help Conor to achieve his career ambitions. HR Manager Jen supported Conor in completing his application for a permanent position and the whole team have supported him to learn new skills, expand his social circle and increase his confidence. We thank Tesco’s for their support and hope to continue our relationship with them in future.

You can watch Conor’s video here:

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 dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk

For more information visit the Work Fit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk