One of the great benefits of attending a regional WorkFit Conference is the chance to hear directly from employers and their employees.
At the recent 2018 North West Conference we had the pleasure of hearing presentations from several employers from across the North West. They spoke about their positive experiences of employing candidates, through WorkFit, who are now excelling in their roles:
Countess of Chester Hospital
The Countess of Chester Hospital, who employs Hannah, provided a real life example of an Access to Work success story. We heard how Hannah, who has worked at the hospital in both a voluntary and paid position for ten years, had experienced a number of difficulties that were putting her job at risk. Thanks to an intervention from the WorkFit team and Access to Work funding Hannah now has a job coach. This has meant that, as well as retaining her position, she has been able to take on extra responsibilities at work. Hannah’s job coach, Freya from United Response, has supported her by breaking down her tasks in a way that means Hannah is able to complete them successfully.
Manchester-based solicitors firm HCC employ Bilal. Patrick Cunningham, head of HR for the firm, spoke at the Conference and began by outlining how HCC had worked with WorkFit to create a position that would add real value to the organisation. He then discussed the importance of WorkFit’s Down’s syndrome awareness training, saying that the training “…helped to dispel myths and preconceptions”. He finished by speaking of how he and his colleagues had been nervous before Bilal joined but that he had been “blown away” by Bilal’s positive, hardworking attitude. He told the audience that Bilal “…has grown in confidence. He is always smiling and makes the office a more positive place”. Patrick commented that the support provided by WorkFit had been crucial.
We also heard from Shauna and the team from The Reader. Shauna has a paid permanent job as a catering assistant, having started with The Reader on work experience. Shauna told the audience: “I like working because it gives me the chance to meet people and be more independent. I like working with other people and cutting sausages.” Shauna also showed the audience pictures of her swimming at the Special Olympics. Nicola from The Reader also spoke: “Shauna has been a big help to us as an organisation. She gets on really well with everyone including her buddy Megan. We are always looking for more opportunities to develop her position in the future.”
Everyone who spoke at the conference was an inspiration and we are delighted to see the candidates doing so well. It was clear that all the employers who spoke feel that their employees with Down’s syndrome are providing real benefit to their workplaces and that WorkFit’s support, both before and during a placement, is crucial in making this to happen.
We are always pleased to hear from any employer who might be interested in hiring a person with Down’s syndrome. Click here to register your interest and a member of the team will be in touch.
WorkFit North is possible due to the Big Lottery Fund
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit the WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk