The Institute of Science & Technology (IST) supports Down’s Syndrome Association Workfit

by James Trout FIScT, Laboratory Site Manager, Environment Agency

The Down’s Syndrome Association is the IST’s designated Charity for 2017. The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) is the only national charity in UK dealing with all aspects of Down’s syndrome aiming to help people with Down’s syndrome live full and rewarding lives.

Established in 1970, the DSA strives to improve lives of people with Down’s syndrome and raise awareness of the condition.  Significant advances have been made in the lives of people with Down’s syndrome and their families. Life expectancy has improved and we live in a society with an increasing expectation of inclusion for people with Down’s syndrome.

The DSA services are accessible to all those with interest in the condition including helpline, training and assessments, resources, sports programme DSActive and successful employment programme – WorkFit.

WorkFit helps people with Down’s syndrome into employment by providing support and training for employers and employees.

A key part of our partnership for the next 12 months is to continue to find opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome within the technical community. We want to show “Science is Inclusive” in our workplaces

The Environment Agency’s National Laboratory Service (IST Corporate Affiliated) has started a programme to recruit laboratory assistants through the WorkFit programme.

This has been a huge success and we now have Tom and Ben working with us in Starcross and Leeds. The recruitment for Nottingham and Caversham is in progress.

So how is the IST going to support DSA in 2017?

  • To encourage more technical organisations to get involved and support the WorkFit programme
  • To help provide an IST validated level 1 qualification that’s fits with the Down’s syndrome learning profile
  • To use our network to help raise awareness of the DSA and WorkFit
  • To give people the opportunity to donate to the DSA at our events and through our website
  • To raise awareness of WorkFit through our network and media accounts.

Our first opportunity to raise awareness…

Scientists in Socks

Each year the DSA raise awareness by asking people to wear special socks on the 21st of March, World Down Syndrome Day.

Socks cost £3.60 per pair and are available on the DSA’s website.

My aim is to make a collage of all the pics of Scientists in Socks and send to the DSA to show our support.

Please also share your pic of you in your socks on your social media accounts.


Find out more about Tom’s experience at the National Laboratory Service in Devon: