By Alexis Brown
DSA Member and WorkFit candidate Gary lives in a village on the outskirts of Gateshead.
Gary likes to keep busy and attends college three days a week where he is learning gardening skills. In his free time Gary plays football and attends a local gym.
During his vocational assessment with the Employment Development Officer, Gary said that he was keen to work and to help people. His hope was that WorkFit would support him to find work that would give him an opportunity to help people.
Gary wanted to work because he had seen his Mum Saacha successfully manage her own hairdressing business for a number of years. Gary’s brother and sister are also in employment which was another inspiration for him.
Gary was flexible about types of work, but he was keen to find an active job rather than a sedentary role.
Following a meeting with Dougal, the owner of a local garage, a work placement was organised. WorkFit training was delivered to Dougal and another staff member who was identified as a natural mentor for Gary.
The following feedback was given after the WorkFit training:
“It has made me more informed”.
“We treat Gary and people with learning difficulties with the care and support that everyone needs”.
In December 2014, Gary began a twelve week placement at the garage. Working closely with his mentor, Gary has developed the skills required to valet both the interior and exterior of cars in preparation for sale. This is important work as the cars must always look their best for potential customers.
Gary’s mentor said: “There is a lot to learn, but Gary is a good learner; thorough in his work and keen to develop new skills”.
The day I visited Gary it was bitterly cold, with snow just beginning to fall, but Gary was quite happy to be working outside as this picture shows!
Gary said: “I like working outside and I love the job”.
The transferable skills that Gary is learning during his placement will help him to gain paid employment locally.
WorkFit supports young people and adults with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives. We need your local knowledge and your on-going support to help us achieve this. Do you know of inclusive employers? Do you know employers who are currently or who have the potential to support people with Down’s syndrome? We are guessing that for every young person with Down’s syndrome there is a working parent or relative or friend who could potentially ask at their place of work? Are you an employer that can help?
Tell us who the employers are by contacting the WorkFit team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on email@example.com
For more information visit the WorkFit website www.dsworkfit.org.uk