Sam began his job in July, working 2 days a week as a Café Assistant, alongside his work buddy Janet and with colleagues Harriet and Joanne Mackay (Café Manager).
Sam has learnt a variety of new skills, from working in a kitchen to serving customers, which he says is his favourite part of the job. He also loads the dishwasher, clears tables and re-stocks consumables.
Café staff members and Store Manager, Mike Clark, attended a WorkFit training session to find out about how to support someone with Down’s syndrome in the workplace.
Feedback from the training was extremely positive:
“I feel confident that Sam will do well at Country Harvest, not only that, I will feel comfortable teaching him.”
“I will ensure that Sam can feel part of the team and valued for his work.”
Café Manager, Joanne Mackay says,
“Working with Sam has been very good for the team and everyone helps him if he needs anything. Also, it’s good to see customers interact with him and he’s becoming much more confident.”
PR & Marketing Manager Sue Riley, told how they had their most successful Facebook post when they announced that Sam would be starting a new job and joining the team – 6,750 shares and 353 likes!
“I like serving customers and taking orders. When I take food to customers I say ‘Enjoy.’ I always ask for help if I need it. I like my job and I know everyone.”
Sam’s mum Joyce says,
“It’s nice to see Sam go to work with a big smile on his face and hear him saying ‘morning ladies’ when he goes into the kitchen to start work. I have seen Sam growing in confidence over the weeks and he tells me all about his work when I call to pick him up. Sam says he enjoys serving customers. He says everyone is friendly and when asked how he likes his job he says, ‘ I really enjoy it’. We feel very proud of him and so thankful that he has been given this opportunity to prove that he can work as part of a team.”
Staff members at Country Harvest have been hugely supportive of Sam and the WorkFit programme. Welcoming someone with a learning disability into an organisation can offer huge benefits, for example, existing staff can learn the skills to support their new colleague.
It can also be hugely beneficial to businesses in helping them to understand their customers.
With 11 million people in the UK registered as disabled and 1.4 million of those having a learning disability, any insight can help organisations to develop suitable products and services for their customer base. Mike says,
“As a business we are delighted to have Sam working as part of the Country Harvest family – he has fitted in really well with both our team and customers.”