WorkFit shortlisted at the ERSA Awards

We are always pleased when our work is recognized, therefore we are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in three categories at the Employment Related Services Association Employability Awards 2018 held on the 14 June. The awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the exceptional work of people and organisations supporting people into or towards employment.

Our first nomination is for Tom Sewell in the Significant Achievement category. Tom works for the Environment Agency’s National Laboratory Service as a Laboratory Assistant, with a range of duties including dealing with samples and stock taking. His job started as unpaid work experience, but Tom made such a good impression he was offered a permanent, paid job. He has been shortlisted for the
exceptional commitment he has demonstrated to overcome barriers to gain and maintain permanent, paid work. Tom lives in a very remote, rural area and has a range of physical disabilities as well as having Down’s syndrome. Through travel training and the use of prosthetics, Tom has successfully overcome all these barriers to get to work.  Tom has shown a strong dedication to his job, learning health and safety procedures and mastering a complex laboratory layout. He is an inspiration to other job seekers, within the NLS and further afield. The NLS have filled several more positions with employees with Down’s syndrome. Tom’s keen to talk about his involvement with WorkFit, taking part in videos, writing blogs and this year he accompanied WorkFit to the United Nations in New York to speak on World Down Syndrome Day.

Our second nomination is for the Team of the Year Award. The WorkFit team (some of whom are pictured) has an outstanding track record of supporting jobseekers with Down’s syndrome and a steadfast commitment to employment support. We have developed 249 opportunities for candidates, almost half of those being for paid work, increasing the confidence and community involvement of WorkFit candidates. Considering the small size of the team and the large geographical areas they cover, this is very impressive. We have developed strong relationships with employers by providing them with specific training which complements their business needs. We work with a range of stakeholders and statutory bodies in the supported employment arena to support the talented pool of job seekers that we work within their career ambitions. The team regularly receives overwhelmingly positive feedback on our efforts from employers and candidates and we are committed to continuous improvement and supporting each other to fulfil the ambitions of our candidates.

Our third nomination is for our former Employment Development Manager Veronica Mulenga in the Adviser of the Year Category. Veronica worked for the Down’s Syndrome Association between 2011 and 2018 and made an outstanding contribution to help people with Down’s syndrome to fulfil their ambitions to work during those seven years. She exceeded the DSA’s expectations, designing a supported employment approach tailored to people with Down’s syndrome and forming connections with employers. She managed the expansion of her team to deliver efficient, localised supported employment across England and Wales. Veronica has a sustained track record over a significant period of time, as her work to date has allowed 208 people with Down’s syndrome to have a mainstream work opportunity, including 110 in paid work. Veronica is a truly inspiring industry exemplar of how to effectively support people with Down’s syndrome into successful and sustainable employment. She leaves a lasting legacy at the DSA that will benefit people with Down’s syndrome for many years to come.

The awards are set to be an exciting evening. We are looking forward to being part of the event. It is an honour to be shortlisted. Watch this space to find out how we do!

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 WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk