A 'working' future for adults with Autism in Sheffield

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Primark, Meadowhall Shopping Centre

Simon has moderate learning difficulties and is on the Autistic spectrum. Simon appears to be very able, but he struggles with social interaction and communication.

Simon started his work experience placement in 2010 within Primark, Meadowhall. Initially Simon had the full support of one of Centre’s specialist Job Coaches, but was soon working independently in his role as retail assistant. Simon did have a couple of periods of concern where full support was put back into his placement, but Simon soon became an invaluable member of the Menswear team and achieved paid work in 2012. Simon continues to show an excellent level of commitment to his work and a loyalty to Primark.


The Oasis, Meadowhall Shopping Centre

Tom has a communication disorder called Autism; this means he has problems making sense of the world around him. Tom came to the Centre after finishing college and soon gained paid employment with the support of the Centre. Tom worked cleaning the Malls within Meadowhall Centre over 9 years. Tom had previously said he would like to try working in the Oasis clearing tables and keeping the dining area clean and tidy. A few years ago he was given this opportunity and was transferred to the Oasis. Tom was given extra support while he learned his new role by one of our Specialist Job Coaches. Tom is now working independently and coped with the extremely busy Christmas period.

When Tom first started at Meadowhall he could not travel or work independently, but with specialised support and a supportive and forward thinking employer Tom has made great progress. He now works and travels independently; he has a developed a social life and recently moved into his own supported living flat. The Centre has regular contact with Tom and his supervisors to monitor his progress. Tom has achieved more than we ever thought possible, we are extremely proud of Tom and all his achievements.


Argos, Kilner Way

Lee has a communication disorder called Autism; this means that he has difficulties making sense of the world around him. Lee has been with the Centre since 2003 and had a number of different placements within Meadowhall. He came to the Centre from Sheffield College, as he needed to gain evidence for his NVQ Retail Level 1, this placement was in Boots and he was very successful and gained paid Christmas work. Then the following year he then secured paid Christmas work at Argos, after his Christmas contract ended he carried it on as a placement to gain evidence for his NVQ Retail Level 2.

Finally, Lee gained paid work at Argos in July 2006. Lee’s line manager has always been extremely supportive. She says “The difference in his confidence is overwhelming. The learning response has revitalised everyone’s enthusiasm seeing such an advance in an individual’s learning”. Lee continues to do well, he has worked on other departments within Argos to gain experience and good product knowledge. He has since moved to a different store and continues to make excellent progress in his career.   The Centre is extremely proud of Lee and all he has achieved.


Sheffield City Council

Loren has Autism and she copes extremely well with her disability but sometimes struggles in some social situations.  She came to the Centre early 2006 and has progressed immensely since she first started.  Loren began a work experience placement at Boots in the Meadowhall Centre.  Then with the specialised support from the Centre, an excellent working environment and her own determination, she gained paid Christmas work at Boots, this was within weeks of starting on her placement.  Loren's temporary contract was extended past Christmas.


Loren also participated in a placement within the Work Based Learning Team at the Source as part of her NVQ Level 1 in Administration.  She really blossomed in this environment, needed very little support and became a valued member of their team.


In August 2007 Loren was accepted on to an apprenticeship within Sheffield Council, where she completed her NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Business and Administration whilst working and gaining vital experience.  In 2009 Loren completed her apprenticeship and was given a temporary contract.  Loren's contract was made permanent.


In January 2015 Loren moved into the Systems Support team on a sideways move from Business Support.  In October 2015 Loren gained a secondment as an Assistant Finance Officer in her current team.  She was offered a permanent contract in December 2017 after being seconded to the role for 2 years. 


In Loren's current role, she works as part of the helpdesk team by providing guidance and support to users of the Council's financial systems.  She continues to develop her skills and is a very valued employee.


Loren has married her long term partner and now lives happily in their own home.  Loren is a credit to herself and the Centre.  We are tremendously proud of Loren.