My name is Denise and I’ve been supported by Mencap on the EmployAbility programme since September 2016. Mencap first supported me on an eight-week work placement at Corry’s Chemist in Castlederg back in November 2016, which was then extended for another eight weeks.
I continued to learn new skills every week such as stock taking, using the till, helping customers and as I developed in this role, it was clear to see that I was becoming more confident in myself. Throughout my work experience, I regularly met with my Mencap Employment Officer to complete essential training that would prepare me for gaining paid employment.
Tuesday 7 March 2017 was a very special day for me because it was my first day at Corry’s Chemist Castlederg as a paid member of staff.
“I am very happy working at Corry’s. I am glad that they gave me the chance of work experience and I am overwhelmed that I am now a paid member of staff. The staff at Corry’s Chemist are very helpful to me, and I am thankful for their help. I was really happy to join Mencap. It’s a great experience that I enjoy and I really mean that!”
My Employment Officer still comes out to see me every fortnight to make sure everything is going well for me. I am very proud of myself for getting a paid job.
When staff at Corry’s Chemist were asked about what they considered to be the benefits of work experience for a trainee seeking paid work, staff member Ashley Sproule said, “The trainee can see how they feel in that particular area of work and what roles they feel most comfortable carrying out or if the job is for them. The work experience is also vital for both the potential employer as they can see for themselves if the trainee is suitable to the job, and it also helps with future employment for the trainee. During Denise's training with us we were able to see that Denise was able to carry out various jobs within our pharmacy. Without this work experience we wouldn't have seen Denise's capabilities and therefore more than likely wouldn't have offered paid work.”
Ashley also said: “The support from Mencap has been excellent, Caroline the Mencap Employment Officer has not only been here to support us and Denise during her training and during her current paid work, but she has also always been only an email or phonecall away if we had any queries or problems. This experience has helped us at Corry’s Chemist to feel more confident about employing someone with a learning disability. We feel Denise has settled into the team wonderfully and has been performing very well. From the work experience we were able to see that Denise had a great personality and willingness to work, she was always on time and well presented. Now after a few months of working in this environment we have noticed a great change in both her social and communication skills. She has also learned to work on her own initiative and is never standing idle.”