Building circles of support for people

so that they have a good life even after their parents are no longer here to stand up for them

Building circles of support for people

so that their families have peace of mind about the future

Building circles of support for people

so that they are empowered to realise their aspirations and contribute to their community

Building circles of support for people

so that they form intentional friendships that broaden and enrich their lives

Building circles of support for people

so that they develop stronger links in the wider community

Building circles of support for people

so that they are as fulfilled and happy as they can be

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Employment and Down's Syndrome

Several years ago the Down's Syndrome Association started a new initiative: WorkFit. This innovative programme supports adults with Down's Syndrome to find jobs, both voluntary and paid. The WorkFit team does this by training both the job seekers and the employing organisations. The results are most encouraging.

We've been watching this programme with great interest from the outset. So we were pleased to see that the spring/summer 2015 edition of the DSA Journal contains an inspiring article by Veronica Mulenga, the association's Employment Development Manager. "We are guessing that for every young person with Down's Syndrome there is a parent/relative/friend who works, who could potentially ask at their place of work," she says. "Do you know of inclusive employers, employers who are currently or who have the potential to support people with Down's Syndrome?"

The article features 6 adults in paid employment. What follows is our summary of the key points.

Sam (25 years old) has worked for a training company as an Office Assistant since September 2013. His tasks include welcoming visitors, making their drinks, shredding paper, photocopying materials, and assembling training packs. He works 14 hours (2 days) a week.

Since February 2013 Katherine (26) has worked as a hairdressing Salon Assistant, welcoming clients, cleaning the waiting area, and washing, drying and folding towels.

Krystyna (34) works in a hotel 2 days a week, travelling there and back by bus. Her tasks include serving people their breakfast, cleaning the tables and doing the drinks menus. "I like to meet people," she says. "I am always on time and I always get up on time. My gran makes sure I'm OK. My dad gets up early and gets my breakfast."

Prem (20) started working in a hairdressing salon in 2012 when he was still at school. He started doing 1 day a week, just 3 hours, and has gradually taken on more responsibility. Since January 2013 he has worked there for 3 days a week (16 hours): organising the towels, cleaning the mirrors and sweeping the floor. His mother finds he has become much more independent: "He feels more a part of society with the responsibilities he has gained and what is expected of him."

Stefanja is 17 and still at school. She has been a Shop Floor Assistant 1 day a week since June 2014, steadily increasing her range of tasks. "Having a job is important to me because it will make me a little more independent," she says.

Thomas (20) started working as a Warehouse Assistant in March 2014 and has built his hours up to 13.5 per week. His tasks include labelling with bar codes on product tags, keeping the warehouse clean and tidy, picking up store orders and recording them.

It's good to see WorkFit gaining ground. The people mentioned in this article are working in Birmingham, Buckingham, Cheltenham, London, Newport and Olney.

For more information about WorkFit: www.dsworkfit.org.uk

0333 1212 300

dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk