This is the first of a number of case studies from the Co-op group, following our introduction from last week. As part of their drive to increase the number of people with learning disabilities that they employed, it turned out that three brothers all gained jobs within neighbouring branches of Co-op supermarkets. Marc (32) was the first of the brothers to get a job with the Co-op. He was introduced to the company 12 years ago by the specialist employment agency Remploy. They found him a job at the Derbyshire store in Stapleford where he continues to work for 39 hours a week.
His younger brother Craig (28) then joined the Co-op at their Sandiacre store with the support of Mencap Pathway employment service, where he has been for nine years and works 24 hours a week.
Then more recently Craig’s twin brother Stefan (also 28) was offered a job at the Co-operative’s Kirk Hallam store following a work trial period through the Mencap Pathway service. He was offered a permanent job in January this year.
The three brothers all work on the shop floor – unloading deliveries and replenishing stock. Marc says, “I really like working here. The people are all right and even the boss is nice!”
Craig agrees. Before working for the Co-op he had a job cleaning tables at a motorway service station but he much prefers his current role. “Mencap Pathway asked what sort of job I wanted to do, and I said that I wanted to work in a supermarket.”
The Co-operative Group has since become a partner on Mencap’s WorkRight programme – a scheme that supports businesses to employ more people with a learning disability and to become more accessible and supportive.
Marc’s boss and manager of the Stapleford store, Shane Reeves, says that employing more people with a learning disability brings benefits to the employer as well as the employee. “We get a dedicated member of staff,” he says, “Marc takes very little time off sick , is always on time, and always willing to help out. He’s really good with customers – especially the old ladies!”
For Stefan and his brothers the income they earn is the key to independence. They all lived together at their parents home in West Hallam and receive no disability benefits. Marc says that his job gives him a routine and a sense of purpose and Craig says that has learning disability hasn’t held him back.
Nice one, Co-op!
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