At Hft, we’re passionate about supporting people with learning disabilities to find work, if that’s something they’re keen to do.
We’re proud to be part of a wide range of supported employment initiatives operating across the country, including Project SEARCH, a scheme that works with employers and job coaches to enable people to gain meaningful work experience.
The initiative has been hugely successful over the years, and has led to many interns finding and pursuing the right career path for them. They include Will from Lancashire, who recently celebrated securing full-time paid employment after graduating from his local Project SEARCH programme!
Will’s journey to employment started in 2019, when he completed placements at the Document Handling Service, trying his hand at roles including Print Room Assistant and Print Room Operative. Will thrived during his internship, and picked up skills such as preparing files for scanning and quality checking documents, as well as receiving training on department equipment. This was coupled with regular support from his employability coach, who helped Will to get to grips with the routines of work, prepare him for the tasks involved and equip him with the necessary skills and experience to progress into paid employment. Will finished his placements with glowing feedback, receiving praise for the ease with which he adjusted to the world of work, his fantastic attention to detail and his ability to work at a fast pace – as well as his excellent sense of humour!
In the summer of 2020, despite the challenges the pandemic presented, Will continued to pursue his career goals after finishing his placements and, with his employability coach at his side, attended his first job interview. After answering all questions clearly and demonstrating his skills, Will was appointed as a Warehouse Operative at Conair Logistics!
First days at a new job are often nerve-wracking, so Will’s follow-on employability coach stayed on to provide support during his induction. Will’s work involves packaging toiletries and beauty products on a production line where he completes various steps of the packing process, including tasks such as labelling boxes. Once Will was settled in, he quickly became confident in his role, attracting praise from his managers for his strong work ethic and great relationships with his colleagues.
Since starting in his first paid job, Will has been delighted to be taken on as a permanent member of the Conair team following his initial 14 week contract, and continues to go from strength to strength.
“Everyone is very nice and the managers are really helpful. My manager is really good and gives great advice. I am really enjoying it. Recently I have been using pump trucks to carry heavy things and used the wrapping machine on my own!”
You can find out more about Supported Employment at Hft, and DFN Project SEARCH at https://www.hft.org.uk/our-services/empowering-individuals/supported-employment