John and Ray’s Story – St Marys Court

January 6, 2017

John and Ray at St Marys Court work experience programme at Asda, Ware

John and Ray both live with mild to moderate learning disability and autism. They are supported by the care team at St Marys Court in Harlow, Essex.

Both have slightly different challenges that they overcome each day but both had expressed a desire within their care planning meetings to experience the world of work.

Quite by chance but very fortunately Donna the community support manager of St Marys Court was engaged in conversation with a local store manager about the challenges of sourcing work opportunities for those with learning disability. This local store manager explained she was passionate about securing work for people with learning disability including in her own store ‘The Guide Post’. She had spent time building a network of contacts that she felt certain Donna and the people supported at St Marys Court would benefit from. A few more conversations later and Donna had secured an opportunity for work experience opportunities for both John and Ray.

Both were delighted at the prospect of participating in the twelve week programme offered by the local Asda in Ware. The programme offers people with learning disability the opportunity to experience working in every department for three hours each week, and includes catching up with the teams over a coffee in their breaks.

Four weeks in and they are loving everything about the programme. So far they have been onto the lorries, into the warehouse, stacked shelves, emptied bins, tidied trolleys and collected food for the Salvation Army.

As they reach the end of the programme both John and Ray will receive a newly written CV and certificate.

John in particular is hoping there might be a firm work placement available for him in the future within the Asda store. Interacting with colleagues at the store is enabling him to develop his social skills and he has made several friends already. He is ordinarily very shy, however just a few hours each week in the company of so many new people has proved to be extremely beneficial. He is now also providing ad-hoc support to the store manager at ‘The Guide Post.’