Nicholas is 34 and lives in Jarrow. We met him in December last year at our Help First Jarrow drop-in. He was new to our service and had been referred by his local job centre advisor. Nicholas joined up to our Wise Steps programme in January 2017. His goal was to get a paid job in the catering trade where he could use his skills. He had worked in a care home kitchen in the past.
Since coming on to the programme, our job coach Elaine has worked with Nicholas on his job application and interview skills, and supported him to gain his level 2 food hygiene certificate. One of our ‘travel buddy’ volunteers also helped Nicholas to learn a new travel route from Jarrow to Newcastle to increase his independence. Nicholas applied for a job as a kitchen porter and we are delighted to share some fantastic news: Nicholas started his first shift as a kitchen porter on the 18th July at The Bohemian, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Newcastle city centre.
Staff at The Bohemian have welcomed Nicholas to their team. He is helping out with the lunch time service, 4 days a week and, after just 2 days in his new job, says he already feels like “part of a family”.
“I love the atmosphere in the kitchen. Getting the job has changed everything for me. I feel so excited. When I finish my shift each day I can’t wait to come back again”
“We gave Nicholas a work trial and were really impressed with his enthusiasm and his attention to detail. Nicholas is already proving a great asset to our team” (Vicky, restaurant manager)
Our job coach Elaine says “It has been fantastic working with Nicholas. He was so focused and keen to start work. I’m delighted that he has achieved his goals”
Our job coach is working with 11 other people with learning disabilities from Gateshead and South Tyneside to help them move closer to employment. Only 6% of people with learning disabilities in the North East have paid employment. We are one of the regional partners working with The Wise Group on their Building Better Opportunities programme to try and change this, and to encourage employers to include people with learning disabilities as a valuable part of their workforce.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Wise Steps programme, please contact Elaine Atkinson on 0191 478 64 72 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org.