“We’re really busy at this time of year,” said Matthew Vickers, Resourcing Service Manager for Royal Mail, “and recruit extra staff for the few weeks leading up to Christmas. We’ve been working very successfully with Enable for a couple of years now and have increased the amount of jobs we have offered to people with disabilities. It’s fantastic to see a person in work, developing. It also galvanises our existing employee base and this is a very positive outcome for our staff who really want to help. Of course you need to make adjustments and ensure placements are safe and secure.”
“We work with a number of voluntary organisations and specialist providers like Enable across the country; it’s part of our cultural and social responsibility,” said Matthew. “It’s important to match the job with the individual to get a successful outcome. In general most barriers can be overcome if you approach them with the right attitude.”
Aedas is one of the best kept secrets inShrewsbury! Not many people living here know that Aedas is the largest privately owned architectural practice in the world operating in twenty countries. The Shrewsbury office is one of the largest in a group of 10 offices around the UK employing around 600 staff nationally. Here is the perspective of Andrew Humphreys, Director Health Centre Lead:
I have a national role within the company but based at our Shrewsburyoffice. I coordinate and manage procurement and delivery of healthcare projects, which can vary from a small scale GP surgery to 1.2 billion pound hospitals in theMiddle East.
Like many other organisations, we’ve had a difficult and challenging time, we’ve had to change and rethink what we’re doing, our approach to how we work with our clients, looking at new markets and sectors we haven’t previously worked in. We’ve also been in the sad position of having to reduce staff levels by approximately 20%.
Scott Owen, was almost one of the redundancies. He’d been employed by us for 9 years as an Architectural CAD technician. As part of a large organisation with a centralised HR, we underestimated how difficult it was for someone like Scott with his disabilities in this situation.
We realised that the redundancy “process” was driving the way we did things which wasn’t right. Process is there to assist, not to dictate and it’s our duty to review what we do and sound check everything. At the end of the day we are dealing with individuals not numbers.
We contacted Enable to give us some advice on how we could retain Scott as part of our team and as a result, we re-appraised Scott’s position, re evaluated his circumstances and realised that there were other ways of doing things. Enable’s advice was clear and effective; they were able to look after Scott’s interests but in the context that I could deliver.
As part of progressing our business we had been looking at advanced technologies and with Scott’s intellectual capacity and enthusiasm, we job carved a new position albeit, on reduced hours, as a CAD Revit Co-ordinator.
As business increases over time, so we hope will Scott’s hours.
Business is certainly very challenging especially the way the healthcare sector is changing. There will undoubtedly be changes in the future but also opportunities. I know we have the skills to make a difference. We’re currently designing a local cancer centre and it’s great to be working inShropshireon a project I know will make a real difference to people.
You have to constantly realign and reinvent your business and mostly you just have to just get your coat on, get out there, knock on some doors and do what you can!
Allan Wigglesworth and Tim Driscoll have notched up almost 40 years of retail experience between them. Now managers for Argos stores at Meole Brace Retail Park and Shrewsbury town Centre, Allan and Tim have a wealth of experience in recruiting staff.
“Normally when we recruit,” commented Allan, “we invite interviewees to participate in a team activity where we look for those who can demonstrate a customer friendly attitude and a willingness to take part. Successful candidates would then be called for a one to one interview. Because we have the flexibility to run the business at a local level, we have the opportunity to tailor that process to the needs of applicants with a disability enabling us to bypass the group activity and replace formal interviews with Work Trials.”
“So far I’ve supported four disabled people in work experience placements” said Tim “and the calibre of people that we’ve had from Enable have been excellent, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their level of commitment! It’s so important to have the right attitude about work otherwise the business can’t function effectively. Work Trials are really great because interviews alone can’t always give an accurate indication of what a person can do”.
“I’ve witnessed first hand,” explained Allan, “the positive effects that being in work has on someone with a disability. We took on a young lad with Aspergers Syndrome from Enable last October via a work trial with a view to employing him as a Christmas temp. He proved so hard working and reliable that we offered him permanent employment working in our warehouse. In the beginning he was nervous about using the phone and now he’s so much more confident that he’s using it all the time.”
“We’ve built up a good working relationship with Enable and they understand our recruitment brief,” said Tim, “and from my point of view, having someone I can contact if I need to discuss anything and the support that Job coaching provides, is invaluable”.
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