Specsavers in Mold partners with WorkFit Wales, which looks to support young people aged 14-25 years with Down’s syndrome access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives.
In October 2015 the store welcomed the lovely Elanor to the team through the scheme.
The below blog by by Simon James, Wales Employment Development Officer, describes her experience with the team in store.
I first met Elanor in early September 2015. Elanor and her family had read about WorkFit and felt that the support the project gives young people with Down’s syndrome in Wales was perfect for her.
At our first meeting at her home, I completed the first part of Elanor’s vocational profile. Elanor explained that she had in the past enjoyed and benefited from work experience at a local library, but unfortunately the opportunity had come to an end. We identified the types of work that would be suitable, the support that may be needed and the skills that she had to offer a potential employer. We discussed the local area, travel requirements, employment barriers and the types of employers to consider. Elanor is a very capable young person with excellent, natural customer service skills. She is very organised and also has good admin and IT skills.
I contacted Specsavers in Mold and spoke to the store manager Katy Owen who was very welcoming and happy to discuss a work placement for Elanor. The next step was to arrange a visit to Specsavers with Elanor to discuss the placement in more detail.
Elanor loved the environment
When we visited the store, Elanor immediately loved the environment and agreed that she would be delighted to have the opportunity to work there. We discussed with Katy the specific tasks and the potential support that would be required.
Katy immediately understood the importance of the free Down’s syndrome awareness training WorkFit offers and a date was set.
Feedback from the staff at the training was very positive:
“The training had a big impact! I didn’t realise how naïve I was regarding the condition. I didn’t realise how varied the spectrum is.”
“Insightful. Has given me more information about how I can help a young adult with Down’s syndrome succeed in the work place”
“Informative training and very beneficial [to us all]”
Elanor started her work placement at Specsavers in Mold in October 2015 and currently works 2 mornings a week. She loves it! Specsavers have given her a wonderful welcome. The staff have completely taken on board the training they were given and support Elanor brilliantly as she learns new tasks.
A varied role for Elanor
Elanor enjoys a varied role. Her duties include scanning paperwork onto the computer, shredding documents, sorting and separating Welsh/English paperwork, general admin duties and cleaning and preparing the glasses on the shop floor ready for customers.
Elanor says: 'I am really enjoying my work here at Specsavers, I love the different jobs that I am asked to do. My favourite part of the job is working with really nice, friendly people.'
Katy agrees that Elanor is getting on really well and is extremely capable: 'Elanor is a pleasure to work alongside She is hardworking, enthusiastic and has integrated herself into the team at Mold perfectly. Personally, I look forward to seeing her come into work with her ‘can do’ attitude.'
On the day I visited the store to see Elanor at work, she was very fortunate to have been offered an eye test by the opticians she now works with. They were keen to ensure that her tests were up to date and that her glasses were correct for her. Specsavers have a good understanding of issues that may affect vision for people with Down’s syndrome.
WorkFit Wales wishes Elanor good luck in her role and will be on hand to support both her and Specsavers during her time there.
WorkFit Wales would also like to send a big thank you to the whole team at Specsavers in Mold for the way they have welcomed and supported Elanor in her work to date. Specsavers in North and South Wales have shown fantastic support for people with Down’s syndrome and we are delighted to be working with such an inclusive company.