Work Solutions are a supported employment service supporting clients with a wide range of disabilities and mental ill health to secure and maintain paid employment. They assess their clients’ skills and abilities by approaching employers to ask for work tasters (short term unpaid work trials) to ensure they can match their clients skills to the needs of the post they are applying for and are also helpful in gaining references to support their future applications.
A current client, Gemma, is a young lady on the Autistic spectrum (Asperger’s Syndrome) who wants to work within the Admin sector. Connect Dacorum put them in touch with Richard McBarnet from Lumina Technologies Ltd who offer IT support for a wide variety of companies supporting them with software issues.
After an initial meeting a work taster was arranged for Gemma for 2 full days working alongside the team and supporting them with the running of the business. To enable Gemma to get the best out of the work taster Work Solutions devised a structured work list, explaining her duties for the duration of the time she was there. This was a great benefit to Gemma and she quickly got to grips with the work tasks and what was expected of her. She shadowed team members and had her own work station where she could complete duties independently. The feedback from Gemma was excellent, she felt part of the team and found them all very supportive and approachable.
Richard McBarnet from Lumina Technologies said ‘I first became aware of Work Solutions at a Connect Dacorum networking event and was immediately impressed with what they had to offer and the support they provided to people who traditionally have found it hard to find meaningful employment.
Shortly afterwards an email went out from Connect Dacorum asking if anyone could offer a work taster to a young lady with Aspergers. Coinciding with our own desire to be more involved with the local community and to help disadvantaged people in the area and having had no experience of Aspergers we jumped at the chance as it seemed an ideal opportunity to “dip our toe in the water” and understand better the impact and reality of employing someone with the condition.
We arranged a short interview and met with Gemma who impressed us with her willingness and commitment to spending time with us. Gemma has so far spent two days with us during which we gave her a variety of areas to gain some exposure to, including technical documentation, checking data backups, updating our core database and auditing part of our remote access solution. The team have all been impressed with Gemma’s dedication, attention to detail and warm disposition and her presence has certainly dispelled a few pre-conceptions of life with Aspergers.
We are now looking to see if we can offer Gemma an apprenticeship to give her a direct, paid, involvement with Lumina Technologies. Our experience with Gemma and with Work Solutions has been very positive and an involvement with the local community I would encourage all organisations to become involved with.’