Learning Disabilities & Autism Real Lives

James continues career in hospitality thanks to WorkFit

The Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit programme was developed to support people who have Down’s syndrome to fulfil their career ambitions. WorkFit Officers match candidates who have Down’s syndrome with inclusive employers and support both parties at all stages of the process.

James, who lives in supported living in Surrey, registered for WorkFit after the hours in his previous role were significantly reduced. He already had some experience in the hospitality sector, and he wanted to continue to build on those skills in a new role.

Whilst James’ parents had initially contacted WorkFit, they suggested that it would be beneficial to liaise with James’ Support Workers, Reubens and Lucie. After an online meeting with James and Reubens, James’ WorkFit Officer found an opportunity within the Food and Beverage team at the Holiday Inn, Guildford. They were open to considering different job roles to suit James’ skills and interests.

An informal visit was set up to meet the team and visit the hotel. James’ Support Worker planned the bus routes with James, catching 2 buses to get there. On arrival, James had the opportunity to meet the Hotel Manager, Simone, and the Food and Beverage team and had a tour of the hotel. They chatted about different types of roles, and it was decided that working within the Breakfast Service team would be a good place to start.

After the visit, the WorkFit Officer spoke to James and his Support Worker to see how the visit went. It had been very successful, and James was offered a paid role 2 days a week as a Food and Beverage team member.

WorkFit training was delivered remotely by the WorkFit Officer with the Hotel Manager, Food and Beverage Manager and James’ workplace buddies all in attendance. Everyone was really engaged and found the training useful. Having examples of areas where James might struggle and ways to work around them, made the early days of his employment much easier to plan.

James’ Support Worker Lucie met him at the hotel on his first day, as he wanted to be as independent as possible and was confident that he could manage the bus routes. James received a friendly welcome from the team and Lucie stayed with James on his first few days. After a few shifts, James was starting to settle in well and the team had a great understanding of his needs. Lucie said: “It was clear that the team had been trained to a high standard and that everyone was fully onboard and committed to supporting James.”

Lucie now only visits James at work every few weeks as there is good communication between the hotel, James, Lucie and his WorkFit Officer. James gets on well with his WorkFit buddies Sheldon and Iwona and is loving his role.

Just recently, James passed his 3-month probationary period and is now a permanent member of staff.  Holiday Inn Hotel Manager, Simone told us: “James is getting on so well and when I see him, he always has a smile on his face.  He is a real delight to work with, he is always keen to learn more, and he is very proud of his work and what he manages to achieve. He is doing a marvellous job.”

To find out more about WorkFit and how we support people who have Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives, 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



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