When Joe moved to Tywardreath with his family three years ago he was hoping he would soon find an entry-level job, but his efforts proved stressful and largely fruitless – just because he has a mild learning difficulty!
To keep himself busy while job-hunting he became a volunteer with the Bodmin based charity Re:Source, racking up hundreds of hours of unpaid work experience in the process.
Frustrated by the Benefits system and the lack of suitable paid opportunities for people with mild learning difficulties, Joe and his parents approached us for advice.
We made a list of all the jobs that needed to be done at our farm and behind the scenes in the shop and asked Joe which ones he could do and the things he found difficult.
Then because he was so willing to work we gave him a chance and offered him paid work experience – it’s turned out to be one of the best things we’ve done for the shop.
At first we paid for him to have supervision however once Joe got used to the routine he grew in confidence and felt he could work without extra support. We discovered he has hidden talent for organising our stockroom that makes the shop more efficient.
Every month he has increased his hours now he is employed by us 3 days a week, working independently but very much a vital part of our happy team.
The experience we gained from supporting Joe inspired us to provide supported paid work experience placements at the shop for 3 more local people with additional needs.
We do not get any grants or financial support to do this. We just don’t employ people based on their CV, qualifications or past experience, we get to know them as people first and fit the work around them. We do it because it makes commercial sense to work with a team of loyal and engaged employees.
How many more people like Joe deserve the opportunity to usefully contribute to a business and be financially rewarded for their talents?