James is 21 years old and is a sociable man who loves to keep fit and active.
He likes nothing better than being included in whatever is going on around him. He also likes walking around places he knows really well and discovering new places. He works out regularly, swims and does yoga. He has been on the Ambitious Support Link course with Barnet and Southgate College, since 2012. James is a vulnerable young man who needs 1:1 support to make it possible for him to access learning in college and in his community.
James understands simple language and is often aware of what is happening around him. He likes to be included and kept informed of what is going on. James communicates through some Makaton signs. James also has some skills in using Proloquo2go on the iPad, but Makaton is the communication system he shows more preference for. He also communicates his needs by leading you to where or what he wants.
James arrived at Ambitious Support in August 2012, with no formal work experience and so we began our journey of discovery. The team at Ambitious Support spent time getting to know James using a person-centred approach to supported employment. This included learning about what James liked to do, what he didn’t like to do and discovering what his preferred activities and environments were. This journey of discovery was evidenced through photographs and we compiled a picture profile of James. This picture profile looked at the various aspects of James’ life, such as his home and neighbourhood, community membership, use of public transport, local businesses he and his family frequent, his educational background, and his skills and interests. The profile continues to grow as James’ skills and experiences grow.
Planning for supported employment
A person-centred supported employment planning meeting was held with James, his family and other people in his life who were committed to James getting a job. At this meeting we looked at the following areas in detail:
- what works and doesn’t work in supporting James?
- what is required by the support staff in order to make sure that his day is successful?
- what does he like doing?
- how does he like spending his time?
- what puts a smile on his face?
- what are the ideal conditions for his working environment?
- what is his ideal job? James A journey into employment
- what were James’ skills and what he would contribute to the working environment?
James’ planning meeting identified a number of industries and employment options.
An action plan was drawn up and the Employment Specialist began the employer discovery process.
The employer discovery process focuses on getting to know the employer and the job, learning how the tasks are done, what the expectations are for the employees and learning how they meet those expectations. Time is taken to get know the working environment and the culture to make sure that it is the right fit for both James as employee and the employer.
James’ first experience of work started in November 2013 when he worked for a London-based distribution company, delivering leaflets in the Upton Park area over an eight hour day. James required quite a bit of support in the beginning to carry out the task, but within three hours he had developed fluency and was independently delivering leaflets. James enjoyed his day and was laughing and smiling until the end of the day.
Ambitious Support worked in collaboration with Westminster Employment in securing and supporting James into similar distribution work for Scrivens opticians. He is employed as a casual worker and is supported by his job coach to work for both the Paddington branch and the Kentish Town branch. James is working four to six hours a week and is paid as a casual worker. He has been working for Scrivens opticians since April 2014. James continues to enjoy the work, and we continue to discover more about him and update his picture profile to represent these developments in his life.
A good working day for James involves being active, working with people, having a varied day and doing systematic tasks.
Looking to the Future
As a result of his success at Scrivens, we are looking at other opportunities for James to build on his CV. James’ journey into employment has started with great success and we will continue to work together with James to find his ideal job.