Valuing Difference – Equal Approach Shines the Light on SSE’s Return on Inclusion

Equal Approach, a global specialist provider of leading edge programs to embed inclusion has carried out a ‘Return on Inclusion’ (ROI) exercise for SSE to calculate the financial value generated in its investment in inclusion and diversity initiatives over the three years from 2014-2017.

SSE has published its first ‘Valuing Difference’ report which details how they have worked with Equal Approach to measure their return on inclusion and how they are now refocusing their strategy to become a truly inclusive organisation.

The results of Equal Approach’s detailed analysis showed that for every £1 invested by SSE, there was a £4.52 ROI for gender diversity initiatives undertaken between 2014 and 2017. By refocusing its Inclusion and Diversity Strategy for 2017-2020, the results for future ROI show there is the potential to achieve £15 worth of value as the organisation becomes more focused on creating a truly inclusive workplace.

John Stewart, SSE’s Director of Human Resources, said:

“For SSE, an inclusive and diverse organisation is essential to our human capital strategy and meeting the looming skills gap expected to impact the energy industry in the early 2020s. Our future commercial success genuinely depends upon the actions we take now to attract, develop and retain a workforce that can provide the skills and talent we need.

“SSE’s Inclusion and Diversity Strategy for 2014-2017 centred on three core elements, ‘IN, ON, UP’: Encouraging women IN to the business; Supporting women to stay ON at SSE; and Helping women progress UP in the organisation. Equal Approach’s analysis shows these actions delivered significant financial value for SSE, but we are committed to going further to create a truly inclusive culture right across the organisation – one that celebrates difference in every sense.

“This means we need to move from focusing on actions linked to specific individual characteristics, like gender, to actually embedding real inclusion throughout the organisation. Our new Inclusion Strategy for 2017-2020 is an important next step for SSE – one that challenges us to focus on fewer, more important factors using an evidence-based approach that drives real change. We believe that this will ensure SSE grows from strength to strength to meet the challenges of the future.”

Dawn Milman-Hurst, CEO of Equal Approach, said:

“SSE now has a significant opportunity to embed the principles of inclusion and diversity throughout its business and create a truly inclusive culture over the next three years.

“Achievement of this offers substantial commercial benefits for the organisation, and would confirm SSE as an industry leader in this area that others aspire to emulate. I look forward to seeing SSE implement their new Inclusion Strategy and the business benefits gained as a result.”

SSE’s new Inclusion Strategy for 2017-2020 focuses on five key areas, building on the ‘IN, ON, UP’ elements of its strategy to date:

  • IN: Candidate attraction and recruitment
  • ON: Retention of talent and managing leavers to maintain positive brand exposure
  • ON: Embedding inclusive values  throughout the organisation
  • ON: Mentoring, networks and partnerships and;
  • UP: Progression, promotion and creating opportunities.

To make sure the organisation succeeds in the future; SSE is committed to long-term change and will nurture the principles of inclusion at every level of its operation.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Being a Consultant for Auticon

In line with our current theme on Autism, Evenbreak is working with a company called Auticon, established in Germany and now working here in the UK. Find out more about Auticon here, and read the account of one of their consultants below:

I’m Martin and I’d like to tell you about myself and my work as IT Consultant with Auticon. Auticon only employs Consultants who are on the autism spectrum. Most Consultants, like myself, have Aspergers syndrome.

What is the fundamental difference between a non-autistic person and myself? 

The perhaps most obvious thing is that I find it really difficult to interpret facial expressions or body language, and I sometimes can’t tell what emotions other people are displaying. I can’t read intended emotions of facial expression, gestures or tone of voice as easily as other people can. As you can imagine, this can make it very awkward to talk to people and it also makes it very difficult to build personal connections. It takes many years for me to build up friendships in the same way as others do.

In occupational contexts, it is difficult for me to remember the face, the role and the name of a colleague. In most cases I am happy to get two out of three right. That isn’t always an ideal starting point for small talk!

It is also nearly impossible for me to lie. On the one hand a good lie requires constant observation of the opponent: Do they believe it, how can I make them believe it? A skill I struggle with. But what’s worse: a lie is a distortion of reality and I couldn’t handle this distortion gracefully. My mind would scream “but it isn’t the truth!”.

In general, interaction with people is hard for me. I have to analyse every remark, facial expression and gesture individually, assess them in their context and rely on learned patterns of behaviour in order to mimic a small talk. In my mind I have about 2000 learned ‘if-then’ rules, to help me figure out what other people’s intentions are.

However: Being autistic also equips me with extraordinary skills, that most non-autistic persons don’t have!

One of those skills is that I see patterns: in behaviours and language, in pictures and films, in history and current politics, in technical connections and functions, in data and programmes. These patterns are connected to each other and they form trees: trees of possibilities, of probabilities, of functional dependencies, of interference and interdependence.

This ability is often extremely helpful, because it enables me to predict how people might behave, even if I don’t understand why they behave that way.

It is even more helpful in a technical context. I can see connections that other people cannot see. I don’t need to look for flaws or mistakes in a drawing, text or a program as these errors flag up immediately whether I like it or not – sometimes they even cause me physical discomfort or pain.

So how did I become an Auticon Consultant?

I studied informatics and civil engineering on a postgraduate level, then worked as computer programmer and civil engineer. After a day at work my wife would explain to me why people behaved the way they did, what their motivations were and how I could interact with them.

As my children were born, I saw them develop from biological machines to admirable people with needs, feelings, hopes and goals. My wife and my children were the first people I could see as individuals and understand their behaviour. So I slowly gained some of the understanding that other people are born with or effortlessly develop during childhood.

In my 30s I founded a civil engineering planning and expertise company with a long-time friend as my business partner. He would handle customers and the networking part and I was in charge of the technical know-how. I was even appointed as an official public expert. I had to vow to not let personal feelings influence my expert opinion and advice. Well, that part was easy!

But when my business partner fell ill and had to stop working, I had to take on his tasks. This put a very heavy burden on my shoulders and I wasn’t able to cope for very long. It didn’t take long for me to burn out and I knew I had to find a profession that was a better match for my skills. I don’t want to have to worry about being autistic, I want to be able to focus on the work I love and am very good at.

That was in 2011, the year Auticon was founded. The rest is history.

Over the past years at Auticon I have worked on a range of complex but interesting client projects. The feedback clients gave me was always extremely positive and encouraging. They appreciate that

  • I have a different approach to solve problems
  • I have a quick understanding of dependencies, interferences and interdependences
  • My opinion and advice is always entirely unbiased
  • I focus on the task at hand
  • I am inherently honesty and truthful
  • …and of course my experience in 35 years as an engineer and software developer

(original article here)

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

Are you a disabled Techie? BBC wants you!

Our friends at the BBC are keen to create an even more diverse workforce, and they are focusing on attracting disabled candidates to work in their technology roles. Here is the story of Ben, and how he came to gain a job at the BBC (original article here):

A year ago Ben Mustill-Rose, a developer who is blind, attended a PDT event in Salford, two weeks ago he joined the BBC as a Developer in Test, here he charts his journey.

It’s just after 7am and I’m on a train, traveling to a school to do some testing for an app we’re about to launch. A year ago I was unemployed and probably still asleep; now I work for one of the largest media organisations in the world and I’ve turned into one of those annoying people on the train who insists on taking up all the table space with their laptop.

My introduction to the BBC came in the form of attending a People with Disabilities in Tech (PDT) event in Salford this time last year. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect but I reasoned that since it was a free event I didn’t really have a huge amount to lose and the alternative was sitting at home continuing to look for a job in tech.

The PDT event was part of a series of free, open door sessions that are designed to encourage a range of more diverse people – including women and people with disabilities – to apply for tech jobs at the BBC.

Ben at People with Disabilities in Tech (PDT) event in Salford in 2015

I felt very welcome on the day and I really enjoyed finding out about what it’s really like to work at the BBC.  As someone with a disability it was particularly good to be able to talk to other disabled staff to find out what support is available, for example Assistive Tech and Access to Work.

In addition there was a huge amount of info on offer about the tons of tech products they work on, for example what it’s like to build a platform like iPlayer that gets hundreds of millions of requests per month. Or to hear from the team that design games played by millions of children or to learn how the BBC has automated the monitoring of all their online real estate. That’s just a taster of the sort of information you learn at one of these events – it’s all pretty impressive I’m sure you’ll agree.

Ben Mustill-Rose with some IT students from the Royal National College for the Blind

Having attended the event I decided to apply for the BBC’s Extend scheme. Extend has changed a bit this year but at the time ‘Extendees’ were given a 6 month placement within one of the BBC departments, the idea being that at the end of the placement you’d be in a good position to apply for further work at the BBC. I’m always hesitant to apply to things like Extend – as a rule I tend to lean more toward mainstream opportunities, but I was (rightly) encouraged to think of it as a foot in the door that would enable me to prove myself.

I could write an entire blog post on the things that I’ve done in my placement and still not scratch the surface. As a developer in test within mobile iPlayer I’ve been doing all the obvious things like developing and testing but even those two things warrant blog posts of their own.

We do lots of test automation in iPlayer so some of my work has involved extending our existing tools in tandem with running manual tests and helping other teams in adopting our testing practices with a small amount of devops mixed in for good measure.

I also spend quite a bit of time giving UX/accessibility type advice to other teams. I’ve had a noticeable impact on lots of other products that have yet to be released which is a really great feeling; I can’t quite believe how much responsibility I was given from day one – I definitely got thrown in at the deep end but fortunately I enjoy a challenge!

Something that I wasn’t aware of before I joined is how much outreach the BBC does. I’m now a STEM ambassador which sees me represent my department at various careers fairs / STEM events which is always incredibly satisfying; I really enjoy giving something back and I’m thrilled that the BBC recognise the importance of these sort of activities.

At the BBC we do things that change the world and we’re building things that nobody has ever built before. Every day that I go into work I know that the things I’m doing are making a real difference both externally and internally and it’s for these reasons that I was delighted to accept the offer of a permanent developer in test role on the iPlayer team a couple of weeks ago.

I’m the living proof that if you’ve got the right skills then it really is possible to go from attending a Diversity in Tech event to working on some of our flagship products.

Ben Mustill-Rose is a BBC Developer in Test

For details of current available roles, click here

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

Book Review: No Greatness Without Goodness

I first came across the author of this book by hearing him being interviewed on radio. Randy Lewis talked about his son, Austin, and Austin’s struggle with autism, and how much Austin taught Randy about love and life. And about the value that all kinds of disabled people bring to society. His experiences with Austin inspired him to explore the issue of inclusion in the workplace, and he set himself a seemingly impossible target of employing 200 disabled people within the 600 people needed in a new distribution facility at Walgreen’s, where he worked.

This is, of course, a subject very close to my heart, so I made contact with Randy and immediately ordered a copy of his book “No Greatness Without Goodness” which tells the whole amazing story.

My experience tells me that people who have some personal relationship with disability (either being disabled themselves, or having a disabled friend or relative) tend to be the most motivated to make the world a more inclusive place, and Randy was clearly strongly influenced by his experiences of watching his amazing son grow up.

The first part of the book revolves around Austin, and the journey his parents embarked on once he was diagnosed with Autism. They had a steep learning curve, and were supported by family and friends and experts, but it seems the greatest teacher of all was Austin himself.

One of the key learnings for Randy was how important it is for disabled people to be able to contribute and participate in society and in the workplace in the same way as everyone else. The second part of the book takes the reader through a very honest journey of an attempt to “mainstream” disabled people into the workplace. In this case the workplace was Walgreen’s – one of the largest and fastest growing retailers in America. Randy visited other organisations who had worked on inclusion, and decided that Walgreen’s would be ideal.

His position held a degree of power, and he believes that “what’s the use of having power if you don’t use it to do good?” (wouldn’t it be fantastic if every person who held power felt like that?). His goal was to create an inclusive workplace where disabled people could thrive in jobs with equal pay and conditions and be held to the same standards as non-disabled employees.

Randy describes his personal journey as moving from duty (including disabled people is the right thing to do), to compassion (the way we treat disabled people is unfair) to justice (this isn’t about charity, it’s about challenging unjust stereotypes). His anger about injustice turned into resolve – to do something positive to make a difference.

The book talks about individuals that went on to be employed in Randy’s experiment. Each employee would respond to different motivations and had different learning styles – something which is true for all employees. It was important to Randy that the disabled employees would be held to the same standards as the non-disabled employees. This resulted in four employees being sacked fairly early on in the process. However, 85% of the original disabled workers hired are still there, seven years on. A much higher retention rate than for non-disabled employees.

Walgreen’s brought in outside experts to analyse the performance of the organisations. Their findings confirm what we already know. The disabled workers performed their jobs just as well as other employees, and had less time off sick and a higher retention rate. Randy states, “One surprising finding was that deaf forklift truck drivers, whom everybody had worried about initially, had substantially fewer accidents than drivers who could hear.”

After the first distribution centre was opened in Anderson, with the 30% of disabled employees, a second distribution centre was opened in Hartford. Some years on, those distribution centres employ 40% and 50% of disabled people respectively. And those two centres became the most efficient distribution centres in the entire history of Walgreen’s. Co-incidence? I doubt it!

The overall impression of this book is that inclusion works – whichever way you look at it. Through the love of fellow man, through the drive to do the right thing, and from a purely commercial viewpoint, including disabled people as a mainstream part of the workforce is a “no-brainer”.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and it served to reinforce that working towards a more inclusive and accessible workforce should be high on everyone’s agenda.

Find it here at Amazon.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Guest Blog: Benefits of employing disabled people

Today’s guest blog comes from Miranda Hoogewerf, who is the Proprietor of Langleys Restaurant & Wine Bar in Surbiton. Here she talks about her experiences in employing young disabled people:

 

I have worked within the special needs field for a number of years. It became increasingly apparent that although young people with disabilities are very well supported in this country, this support comes to a grinding halt from the age of 19. Families and individuals with disabilities are left stranded without any purposeful direction.

I have recently moved away from working with special needs children and have opened my own restaurant with my husband. My vision was to establish a successful business and also be able to use this business to help give opportunities to disabled people. I approached a local school and discussed the possibility of trialling this vision. We have set up our kitchen preparation area with PECS (picture exchange communication system) which allows us to help non verbal communicators and people with autism.

We understand that the kitchen area can be quite a frenetic and noisy place at times, so we ensure that shifts are allocated in the morning or between the lunch and dinner service. We have a team of around 15 employers, many of who have never had any contact with people with disabilities. They have learnt and now appreciate how hard it can be doing the simple tasks we take for granted. As a team they also realised what a privilege it is to be able bodied, employed and doing something they enjoy.

Staff morale and supporting each other has also been a positive outcome, along with taking the time to encourage each other and lending a hand to help each other out. As a business, we will continue to actively look for people who would like to seek experience at our restaurant and hopefully with a framework that has been tried and tested we will also encourage other local businesses to do the same.

See more about the business here – http://www.langleysrestaurant.co.uk/

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Best Practice Case Studies: Morrisons (2)

Another example from Morrisons about making adaptations so that a member of staff can continue to work within the organisation:

Stephen commenced working for the Company in September 1997. He left school and applied to work weekends (14 hours) at the Company’s Yeadon store on the checkouts. After completing his ‘A’ levels at college, he applied and was accepted to work full time as a checkout operator. Stephen has a condition called opticatrophy which means he has some sight close up but cannot see long distance. At the time of going full time Stephen needed no adjustments in the workplace.

As Stephen’s sight deteriorated we made some slights adjustments to his checkout screen namely changing the layout on the screen so that it was white on black instead of black on white.

In 2007 Stephen applied for a 20 hour per week position in the Administration department and was successful in his application. His hours of work are Monday to Thursday 09.45am – 3.00pm. When Stephen moved into Admin we liaised with Access to Work, who arranged to undertake an assessment to ensure that Stephen was getting the right support, equipment and adjustments he needed to help him comfortably and confidently carry out his role.

A company came out and did an assessment on Stephen and recommended the following:

  • Supanova Software
  • A quick look magnifier
  • A specialist large keyboard
  • A phone amplifier (Stephen also has a slight hearing problem)

Access to Work agreed to part fund the equipment, Morrisons funded the rest and all the above was put in place. In 2008, Stephen got Nick his guide dog who accompanies him to work and stays in the Admin department with him throughout his shift. He has a bed under the desk and Stephen splits his break so that he can walk Nick. Nick is very popular with everyone at the store and Stephen jokes that colleagues only come to Admin to see Nick not him.

Stephen’s duties include:

  • Inputting of the order pad. Stephen has the deadline to meet on a daily basis which he completes successfully every day. The software that was installed on the computer helps Stephen with this task. He also has a large monitor so that he can see more clearly what is displayed.
  • Answering the phone
  • Tannoy Calls
  • The checking of the dispatch notes that come into the office. He uses his magnifier to do this task.
  • Prints off the Shelf edge Labels that display the prices on the shop floor
  • General queries and the signing in and out of visitors to the store.

Stephen loves his role and says, “The company have being fully supportive and have done brilliant in reassuring me and advising me every step of the way whilst the adjustments were carried out. The Company couldn’t have done more to make me feel a valued member of the team and should I have any problems I only need to advise my line manager and they are sorted”.

Both Stephen’s Line Manager and Store Personnel Manager state that Stephen is a valued, well liked and well respected member of the team who always has a smile for everyone.

Outside of work, Stephen likes to socialise with his wife, family and colleagues. He also enjoys taking Nick to the park for Nick’s playtime where Nick is let off his harness for fun with his ball etc, Stephen takes his wife with him for this and uses his white cane so Nick can have a rest.

 

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Best Practice Case Studies: Morrisons (1)

Here is another in our series of best practice case studies, this time from Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc. It’s a great example of retaining an existing employee who acquires a disability, or whose disability changes or worsens:

Angela commenced working for the Company at the Hunslet store in September 1994 as a Bakery Assistant doing 15 hours a week. Angela had Polio as a child, however at this time no adjustments were needed. In 1995, Angela applied for a position doing 13.5 hours a week in the Wines & Spirits department on the checkout and was successful in her application. As time went on, Angela’s mobility became reduced and in 2011 she was really starting to struggle.

At this point we started to make adjustments for Angela which included allowing her to use the Customer Café instead of the Staff Canteen as she was struggling to use the stairs to the Canteen and the store has no lift. She also uses the customer disabled toilet as this is near to her work station and easier for her. At this point Angela’s husband was bringing her to work putting her into her wheelchair from the car and wheeling her into store to her checkout, she then transferred to her checkout chair and commenced her shift. Her husband then did it all in reverse order at the end of her shift. Angela was not comfortable with this and so we looked into adapting the checkout in the Wines and Spirits department. Unfortunately due to space we were unable to do this but were able to agree with Angela for her to transfer to the main checkouts in the store.

We sought the assistance of Access to Work who helped fund a specialist electric wheelchair and the adaption of the checkout so that Angela could easily access the checkout and work comfortably from the wheelchair. Rainbow Mobility provided the chair and were very helpful and came out to see and assess Angela to ensure she got the correct chair and that she was comfortable using it around the store and carrying out her role comfortably.

Angela was very pleased with the chair. Now, when her husband brings her to work, he comes into store to get the wheelchair, Angela transfers from the car into the chair and then stays in the chair until she transfers back into the car at the end of her shift. The store also accommodates her weekly shift to coincide with her husband’s shifts so he is able to bring and pick her up from work and be at home with her. Angela is now a lot more comfortable in her role and feels a lot better in herself. She has not had any absence from work since 2009.

Angela says, “I can’t fault the Company for what it’s done for me, it’s really good what they have done and I really enjoy coming to work and feel a valued member of the team. They really can’t do enough for me. If I have any problems, I speak to either my Line Manager or Leanne my Store Personnel Manager and they are resolved straight away”.

Angela’s Line Manager adds that Angela is a credit to the Checkout Team and has many friends within the store who all look out for Angela, her Customer Service is wonderful and she always has a smile for everyone.

 

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Evenbreak walks the talk!

I’d like to introduce you to Lewis. Lewis is 16 and has ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so severely that he has been unable to attend school for the past six years. His conditions mean that even home-schooling was restricted to four hours a week spread over the week, and he would become exhausted after each half hour lesson. As a result, at the age of 16, he had no GCSEs and no work experience, was unable to go out to work, and even working from home would only be able to work for a few hours a week, spread out throughout the week. His careers counsellor told him he would find it very difficult to find work, but he could always get a sick note. He had been effectively written off, at sixteen.

However, Lewis is also very bright and has a huge desire to contribute as much as he can. Despite his physical limitations he was determined not to spend the rest of his days as an invalid. He is continuing with his education, recently achieving great results in an English exam. He is good with computers, conscientious, has great attention to detail and would be a loyal employee. But what could he do?

Thankfully, he heard about Evenbreak, and a discussion ensued. As we talked, I was wracking my brains trying to think of what kind of work Lewis could do, and quickly realised that he could be really helpful to me! Much of my time is spent doing data entry work (inputting jobs onto the Evenbreak job board), which is vital, but time-consuming. It would make a huge difference to me if someone could do that for me, leaving me to do all the other things I also need to do.

Lewis was interested, and I trained him remotely over the ‘phone using our computers (our respective disabilities make it difficult for either of us to travel). It immediately became apparent that Lewis was keen, and picked things up quickly. I offered him the role of Data Entry Clerk, at a decent hourly rate, and he immediately accepted.

We have both learned as we have gone along, and we find that Lewis finds it easier to concentrate for short periods of time, so will work for no longer than half an hour at one sitting, spreading his hours over the week. Since his appointment in April this year, Lewis has proved to be excellent. His accuracy has always been spot on, and his speed has picked up as he has gained confidence and got used to the role. I know he is doing as much as he is physically able and he always keeps me informed with progress, doing overtime when he is able to. He is a real asset to Evenbreak, and employing him was definitely one of my better decisions.

I asked Lewis’ permission to write this blog about him, and how he felt about his work at Evenbreak. He said, “I had previously worried whether I would ever be able to work – that no-one would employ me with all my health problems. Now I feel proud that I am doing such an important job, and feel much more confident than I used to. The job is flexible and I can work from home around my health issues. I feel happy and it has given me hope!”

I recognise that Lewis is destined for bigger and better things in the future, but in the meantime I’m very much enjoying him being such an important part of the Evenbreak team.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Best Practice Case Studies: EmployAbility (3)

EmployAbility are a supported employment service run by Surrey County Council for disabled people who wish to find paid or voluntary work but need some additional help.  They help individuals find and retain employment, by supporting both the employer and employee during all stages of job seeking and providing on-going support in the workplace.  Their aim is to promote social inclusion and enable people with disabilities to make their contribution to local communities and participate fully in the wider community. Here is Simon’s story.

Simon had been out of work for 4 years, following 6 successful years at work and a subsequent mental health problem. Simon met with EmployAbility’s New Start Team and it was agreed he should apply for an IT Apprenticeship with Surrey County Council.  He was successful in getting the job.

The role requires Simon to interpret requirements, research software and create technical user documents for self-employed people.  The documents have to be written in a way that people with a technical understanding will benefit from the advice, whilst explaining instructions in a manner that someone with a learning difficulty would also be able to follow.  The role requires a sound IT understanding, a strong level of written English skills and the ability to think about a range of perceptions and learning styles.

Simon says, “the job  forces you to keep on your toes when offering advice to clients since you need to be able to present information in ways which can be understood by people who are either not very technically able or who may have difficulty in understanding certain topics. The ability to explain these tasks in a way that is understandable, clear, concise and informative is a challenge which I relish. Also meeting new people is a great experience and often changes the way that you think about certain tasks and problems. Overall I am looking forward to the year ahead as I am sure that the job will expand my horizons in ways which I cannot comprehend at the present time”.

Simon’s manager Jenny says: “Simon demonstrated strong skills for this role during the interview process and has proven to be an excellent match for the job requirements. He has settled in really quickly and works with a level of independence and competence that is a great asset to this very busy project. We are delighted that he chose to join us as an apprentice.”

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Best Practice Case Studies: EmployAbility (2)

EmployAbility is a supported employment service run by Surrey County Council for disabled people who wish to find paid or voluntary work but need some additional help.  They help individuals find and retain employment, by supporting both the employer and employee during all stages of job seeking and providing on-going support in the workplace.  Their aim is to promote social inclusion and enable people with disabilities to make their contribution to local communities and participate fully in the wider community. Here is Lesley’s story.

Lesley had been unable to secure paid work after losing her job and suffering with a period of feeling very low and anxious.  Her confidence was extremely low and finding a suitable work opportunity was proving difficult. With the support of EmployAbility and the New Start project, Lesley was successful in securing a 6 week work experience placement within the Legal Services Department of Surrey County Council

She spent time working with the Accounts Team matching incoming invoices and inputting disbursements onto the finance system for professional charges involved in the management of court cases. Lesley was given the opportunity to stay with the team for another 6 weeks so that she could work with other members of the team and learn a little more about the way the office ran to support the legal process.  This included updating the encyclopaedias and the process of legal bundles, which were sent to courts and then returned.

She also had the opportunity to do online training courses via the Surrey County Council intranet, to enhance her CV writing and interview skills. Lesley says the placement and the structured daily work routine has increased her confidence and has broadened her skills as well as enhancing her C.V.

Lesley has now been invited to register with Manpower for temporary and contract paid work positions and will continue to look for permanent paid work.

Her manager says, “Lesley has been a pleasure to have as part of the team, she has worked with the finance team on a data entry project. Lesley has been accurate in her work and picked up tasks quickly. Her cheery approach and willing attitude are significant strengths of hers as is her ability to mix and communicate well with others. We will miss working with her and wish her all the best in the future”.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak